From Rio Youers, the acclaimed author of Lola on Fire, comes a blistering high-octane thriller about desperate love, vengeance, and the precarious pursuit of fame.
“A rip-roaring Hollywood noir that smashes the pedal to the metal and keeps it there. The best villain since Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels . . . This one is hot.” —Stephen King
Luke Kingsley’s glory days are behind him. A star on the rise, his life and career imploded after his soul singer wife, Lisa Hayes, disappeared without a trace, silencing a very public and tumultuous marriage. Most people, especially an avenging PI, think Luke got away with murder. The last thing he expects is to be pulled back from the brink by a starstruck stranger.
Wannabe actress Kitty Rae has chased her dreams all the way from Kentucky to Hollywood. Saving a washed-up actor’s life wasn’t one of them, but she believes in Luke—as much as she believes her own career is just one lucky break away. For now, she works for Johan Fly, a charismatic, wealthy, and seriously unbalanced drug dealer to the rich and famous. When Johan discovers that Kitty has been skimming the product, he vows to make her pay.
As Luke steps up to help Kitty, he uncovers a web of violence and corruption, as well as a single, enticing clue about his wife's disappearance. Barreling across the Mojave Desert, Luke and Kitty set off to find the long-lost Lisa. But Johan, hungry for vengeance, is hot on their trail. There’s no limit to what he will do to find them. And in a world where fortune favors the ruthless, there’s also no limit to what Luke and Kitty will have to do to survive.
Kitty Rae, the 24-year-old protagonist of this uneven crime novel from Youers (Lola on Fire), moved to L.A. from Kentucky to become an actor. Four months later, that hasn't happened, and Rae supports herself delivering crystal meth. Her fortunes change after she saves her neighbor, former movie star Luke Kingsley, from gassing himself to death in his garage. Luke's career has been on the skids since his wife, Lisa Hayes, vanished three years earlier. The police—and the general public—are convinced Luke murdered Lisa and hid the corpse. Luke helps land an agent for Rae, who believes his claims of innocence. Meanwhile, Rae must evade the violent wrath of a sadistic narcotics trafficker, who suspects Rae has ripped him off. A nicely complex lead and some welcome doses of humor—a B-list actor jokes that his tombstone will include the phrase "Also Starring"—compensate only in part for a familiar plot that builds to a predictable climax. Hopefully, this talented author will return to form next time.
I’ve read this year. Second best I’ve read in the past 2 years…right after Razorblade Tears.