On the morning of her thirtieth birthday, ex-con-turned-paparazza Nina Zero scales the Malibu hillside above the estate of a reclusive film star who hasn't been seen in a decade. Within the next few hours, a mysterious gunman shoots her, a deadly brushfire almost smokes her, an arson investigator accuses her, and a toothless Rottweiler adopts her as his new best friend.
Accompanied by the toothless Rott, Zero goes on the hunt, compelled to prove that someone else set fire to the star's estate to keep the cops from jailing her for arson and -- when charred bones are discovered in the ashes -- murder. The killers are equally interested in finding her, and their desperation escalates to a bone-chilling series of violent encounters in which Nina plays hunter one moment and prey the next.
Falsely accused of arson and murder, Eversz's series hero Nina Zero (Shooting Elvis; Killing Paparazzi) gets herself into more trouble than ever in this new installment. Formerly Mary Alice Baker, a children's photographer who landed in prison, upon parole she morphed into exotic Nina Zero, a celebrity paparazza for Scandal Times in L.A. While trying to take pictures of the reclusive retired movie star Angela Doubleday, Nina sees Doubleday's Malibu mansion go up in flames, is shot at by a strange man and finds herself adopted by a lovable, toothless rottweiler. When a vicious arson investigator blames Nina for the fire and after human bones are discovered in the ashes murder, she must prove her innocence. Along the way she befriends Angela's niece, Arlanda Cortes; Angela's godfather, Ben Turner; and a retired sheriff's deputy; she also meets a host of suspicious characters, including two brothers with a dark past who are also after Nina. Eversz noirishly evokes Southern California "Los Angeles is a city where people move to become someone they imagine themselves to be but aren't yet and most likely never will be" and, despite frantic pacing and a convoluted plot, creates colorful, well-rounded characters. With plenty of celebrity satire and an ending that confounds expectations, this is a rollicking ride.