Novelist, essayist, and playwright Indiana (Rent Boy, 1994; Gone Tomorrow, 1993, etc.) brings together the insane events and natural disasters of our day in a novel that's most emphatically not a roman Ã‰ clef but a fiction in which real life serves as ""honorary ballast for an entirely speculative"" narrative. The subject is death, Los Angeles-style, and at story's center is the ongoing murder trial of two brothers who are accused of shooting their parents to death in what prosecutors claim was cold-blooded murder for inheritance, and what the defense claims was a preemptive strike against a sexually abusive father and his enabling wife. Sound familiar? Transcripts of the trial punctuate Indiana's larger narrative, which mainly follows the experiences of Seth, a gay East Coast journalist on assignment to cover the high-profile courtroom antics. Panoramic in scope, with all the sub-stories loosely linked, this pansexual melodrama seems to suggest that we're all killers in one fashion or another, and that father-son incest is at the root of much maladjusted behavior. Indiana waxes ironic about a wide range of types, from the presiding judge's secret life as a stalker to a taxi driver with AIDS whose affair with some rough trade is far more dangerous than he realizes. There's also the son of the washed-up soap star, who casually kills male tricks; the key trial witness with a bad case of Tourette's; and an overweight housewife who hopes to leave her husband for one of the brothers. Seth finds that violent dreams and tacky realities are hopelessly intertwined in California. Indiana's wickedest cuts, though, are reserved for the minor players, especially the on-target jabs at characters who resemble Dominick Dunne, Kathy Acker, and Jamaica Kincaid, to name a few. The clever parts never add up to a convincing whole here, just lots of trite (if acidic) riffs on our peculiarly skewed culture.