Nikki Black, 17, a self-imposed lone wolf since her mother died, fled suburban Chicago to escape her painful past. But when her so-called boyfriend reveals why he really lured her to Southern California — to star in child porn flicks — she ends up on the streets of L.A. with only the clothes on her back and a twelve-year-old addict named Rain trailing in her shadows. The girls seek refuge at a residential hotel above a punk rock bar in downtown L.A. a few months before the city erupts into chaos during the 1992 riots. At The American Hotel, Nikki makes friends and for the first time in years feels as if she has a real family again.
All that changes when Rain disappears. Everyone except Nikki, including the police, thinks Rain succumbed to the seductive allure of addiction and life on the streets. Nikki finds herself fighting for her own life the closer she gets to unveiling a sinister cover-up by a powerful group that secretly controls the city of angels. City of Angels is an edgy, gritty, mature Young Adult mystery about a teenager’s struggle to not only belong — but survive.
A runaway from Chicago winds up on the tumultuous streets of 1992 Los Angeles in Belcamino's (the Gabriella Giovanni Mysteries) uneven first book for teens. Seventeen-year-old Nikki Black fled the Midwest for L.A., lured by an much older guy who promised her a leg up in Hollywood. Turns out that meant child pornography with a sleazy big-name director; Nikki splits, but not before rescuing 12-year-old Rain from the same fate. The two land at the American Hotel, once home to Charles Bukowski, where Nikki helps Rain kick a heroin habit and slowly befriends the motley crew of musicians, waitresses, and artists living there. Rain doesn't stick around long, and soon Nikki is embarking on a quest to find her wayward new friend, certain that she has been kidnapped. The plot strains believability once Nikki ties Rain's disappearance to a Scientology-esque church replete with famous actor acolytes and rumors of murder. The relationships between the well-drawn characters, particularly tough but vulnerable Nikki, are a strong point but don't quite compensate for the overstuffed plot . Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
City of Angels is a great read.
City of Angels is a first class thriller set in LA during the time of the Rodney King beating, trial, and subsequent riot.
The dangers faced by Nikki, Rain, and their friends kept me turning the pages in anticipation for what happens next.
I have enjoyed all of Kristi Belcamino's Gabriella Giovanni Mysteries, so I'm not surprised by how much I like City of Angels.