I'd heard mixed reports about this book so despite my enthusiasm for LA based noir fiction, and a desire to find out more about the reality, my enthusiasm was tempered by foreboding.
Richard Rainer's writing style initially felt confused and incoherent, however within a few chapters I was hooked....
This is a complex tale and yet Rainer tells it with verve and enthusiasm. He cleverly focuses on two contrasting personalities: one who is seduced and corrupted, whilst the other retains his integrity by escaping before becoming irredeemably tracked down by LA's sleaze.
Readers of Hammett, Chandler, Ellroy etc. will note, perhaps with grim satisfaction, that LA's reality is every bit as corrupt, venal and soulless as it's depicted in their noir fiction.
The books finale - a murder trial that gripped the city - is a genuine page turner. The book's final section ties up all the loose ends and also allows for some reflections from the author.
This is a very enjoyable book - and essential for anyone interested in how Los Angeles sold its soul and/or the noir novels and films inspired by the city.