Six years after returning his Pulitzer, Benjamin Justice gets a visit from Harry Brofsky, the former Los Angeles Times editor he got fired along with himself over a fraudulently fictionalized AIDS human-interest story. Harry, now at the fly- by-night L.A. Sun, wants Justice to work on a sidebar to the story that up-and-coming Alex Templeton's writing on the shooting of Billy Lusk outside a gay bar in the Boy's Town neighborhood. The killing seems open-and-shut: Teenaged gangbanger Gonzalo Albundo, found at the scene, has already confessed. But after the obligatory protests, Justice, like an old firehorse that can't ignore the bell, gets his teeth into the story and won't let go. Albundo, he realizes, doesn't belong to any gang, and his confession is as phony as Justice's Pulitzer article. Martyred Billy was no saint, either; he was a blackmailing cokehound who kept a bulging photo file of all his lovers. The outraged citizens baying for blood, from Albundo's homophobic brother Luis to smiling Senator Paul Masterman, all have something to hide. When his questions lead him to a closeted tennis pro and the secret her powerful p.r. flack Queenie Cochran is hiding, Justice ignores Brofsky's obligatory attempts to pull him off what's turned into a hot potato and follows the story from the Out Crowd bar to the Boy Meets Grill, and to a solution readers of every sexual orientation will have spotted long before he does. Wilson telegraphs each punch like a man who just can't keep a secret to himself. But sensitive Justice, once he's come to terms with his demons, should be well worth an encore.
Read full book review >