Jumat, 01 Mei 2015

Everything but the Squeal

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Robert B. Parker and Robert Crais fans will enjoy 2011 "Best Novel" nominee Hallinan's overeducated private eye, Simeon Grist. In the second book in Hallinan's cult series, originally published in the 1990s, Grist takes a case, that leads him to the phantom neighborhoods of L.A.'s lost children.

Missing thirteen-year-old Aimee Sorrell, who ran all the way from Kansas to be a star. But Aimee's trail soon leads Simeon to the city morgue, the first stop on a perilous journey to find out what happens to America's lost children when they go looking for love in all the wrong places.

*From Publishers Weekly
Simeon Grist, seen before in The Four Last Things , is an up-to-date private eye, a hip survivor of the Woodstock Generation bemused by current L.A. life. He's also a bit seedy, drinking too much and backsliding into cigarette smoking, with a wry outlook and heart of gold that keep him squarely in the hardboiled Hammett-Chandler tradition. Hired to find a 13-year-old runaway who left Kansas to become a Hollywood star, Simeon soon finds himself mired in L.A.'s seamy underworld of teenage hustlers, pimps and all-around losers. Using as decoys his teenage godchild Jessica and a young computer whiz smitten by her, Simeon uncovers a vast interstate ring involving a talent agency, a bent cop and high-tech kiddy-sex. While providing a nasty new meaning for a computer "menu" and some scenes not for the squeamish, Hallinan employs skillful pacing, L.A. color and Simeon's attractive persona to grip readers right through the gory climax and somewhat reassuring ending.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

*From Booklist
Hallinan's first novel, The Four Last Things, introduced Southern California professor-turned-private-eye Simeon Grist and was notable for its superior plot, dialogue, and characterizations. The second Grist novel is as entertaining as the first, although its subject matter – child prostitution – is hardly light. Hired to find Aimee Sorrell, a 13-year-old runaway from Kansas City who has been kidnapped, Grist attempts to get a lead by hanging out with the young hookers and pimps who frequent the area between Sunset and Fountin Boulevards in Hollywood. His discoveries lead, first, to a strange alliance with the bizarre Mountain (a self-appointed guardian angel who tries to convince the runaways to go home) and, next, to the recruiting of Grist's goddaughter, Jessica, and her computer-nerd friend, Morris, to assist in the hunt for Aimee. Hallinan once again supplies a riveting story, and Grist continues to be one of the most intriguing of the new private eyes. Be forewarned, though: the denoument is grim indeed.

*From Library Journal
Simeon Grist, persistently hard-nosed private eye, searches the draggy side of Los Angeles for a little lost rich girl. The 12-year-old's mother has received obscene pictures and a ransom note of sorts, so Grist, disgusted and enraged, dives into a graphic world of teenage prostitution, drug abuse, instant violence, colorful street people, and odious exploitation. By treating a grimly fascinating subject matter and location with sharp-voiced style and verve, Hallinan rises far above his first effort, The Four Last Things .
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

“Squeal combines high-octane action, baroque violence, humor, and pathos in a self-assured manner that marks Mr. Hallinan as a capable practitioner of the private eye tale. (Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal)


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