Elmore Leonard meets Denis Johnson in this explosive first novel set on the seedy side of Southern California.
Ex-marine Jimmy Boone-former bodyguard to Los Angeles's rich and famous-is fresh out of Corcoran, on parole, and trying to keep his nose clean until he figures out his next move. He has a job tending bar on Hollywood Boulevard, serving drinks to tourists, and is determined to put the past behind him.
But trying to do the right thing has always been Boone's downfall. When he backs up a buddy on a hero-for-hire gig -- looking into the mysterious death of a kid on a downtown bus -- he once again finds himself in a world of trouble.
As Boone learns more about the boy, an innocent who got involved with the wrong people, his investigation becomes a mission. Along the dangerous margins of Los Angeles, he encounters down-on-their-luck drug dealers, a vengeful stripper, a dog-fighting ring, a beautiful ex-cop, a vicious crime boss and his crew, and a fortune in counterfeit bills. Before long, Boone realizes that his quest to get at the truth about a ruthless murder may also turn out to be his last chance at redemption.
This Wicked World is a knock-out blend of superb writing and breakneck storytelling that grabs you by the collar and makes it impossible to stop reading.
Set in L.A., Lange's visceral, hard-hitting first novel puts him squarely in the ring with the best young neo-noir writers. Jimmy Boone, a former Marine and ex-con lying low and waiting out his probation by tending bar on Hollywood Boulevard, gets drawn back onto dangerous ground after he agrees to help his bouncer buddy, Robo, look into the death of a young Guatemalan immigrant found covered in infected dog bites on an MTA bus. Boone and Robo get on a trail that leads from a ghetto dope pad, where they rescue an abused and toothless fighting dog, to a secluded desert compound near Twentynine Palms, where a psychotic crime boss, Taggert, hosts bloody dog-fighting contests. Boone soon finds himself in way over his head as he comes up against Taggert's crew of degenerates. While the book contains some familiar set pieces, Lange, the author of the story collection Dead Boys, shows he has the potential to put his own distinctive mark on the mythology of Los Angeles.