High Tolerance

A Novel of Sex, Race, Celebrity, Murder… and Marijuana

by Mike Sager

“The wry and knowing Mike Sager has written a saucy and kinetic L.A. novel. Celebrity gets fully toasted in this engaging romp about show business and the clash of cultures high and low, where the talk is tough before the shooting starts. The spotlight, it seems, can sometimes be a very dark place.” —Ron Carlson, author, Return to Oakpine, former co-director, MFA Program in Fiction Writing, University of California, Irvine.

In this artful page-turner, a beloved superstarlet, a controversial billionaire hip-hop mogul, and a television writer/producer idled by a demoralizing strike are linked together improbably by murder, domestic heartbreak, a sex video . . . and their inclusion on a secret subscription list for an exclusive designer strain of medical marijuana. Over a span of three seemingly ordinary days and nights in Los Angeles, the world wobbles on its digital axis, and futures are forever changed.

Hollywood, January 2008. The Writers Guild of America is on strike. An increasingly peevish viewing audience is relegated to a starvation diet of reruns and old movies. What happens when a series of shocking, deadly, and prurient events boils over into a perfect storm of serendipitous, round-the-clock programming? And what becomes of the major players, whose lives are unalterably masticated by the public’s right to know?

High Tolerance is the second novel by award-winning Rolling Stone and Esquire journalist Mike Sager, whose work has inspired a number of films, including the classic Boogie Nights. He summons his considerable descriptive and narrative powers—and three decades behind the scenes covering celebrities, gangs, drugs, and crime—to weave together a raw and insightful tale of complicated lives in the shifting racial landscape of turn-of-the-century Los Angeles, the dream factory from which the American Zeitgeist is exported around the globe.

Listen to an excerpt from High Tolerance on TNBBC’s The Next Best Book Blog Audio Series:

“Pleasantly surprised to have found this great author. His character development is masterly and his writing as smooth as silk. When a big-hitting rap star-gone-record producer ends up with three rappers dead in his office, questions surface. The story is fast-paced and fun but with writing as important as Tolstoy’s. You get swept away in the story to the point you don’t want it to end. Highly readable, highly entertaining HIGH TOLERANCE will win you over to Mike Sager books once and for all.”–Susan Wingate, Dialogue: Between the Lines

Listen to an excerpt from HIGH TOLERANCE:

Listen to Sager’s LONGFORM PODCAST, interviewed by Max Linsky:

“High Tolerance is Something You Develop Over Time.” 30 Rules of Tolerance gleaned from the novel, as featured on

Mike Sager

Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter. He’s been called “the Beat poet of American journalism.” For more than forty years, he has worked as a writer primarily for the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, GQ, and Esquire.  Sager has written a dozen books; a number of his stories have inspired movies and documentaries, including the classic Boogie Nights. He is the editor and publisher of, a content brand.

Mike Sager