A one-time private eye is forced to don unofficial gumshoes once more to find out who’s bent on wrecking what’s left of his life and killing one of his rare friends along the way.
JD Fiorella’s career as a tough shamus was ended when he killed several bad guys in a hellacious shootout. He was cleared of all charges, but hard drinking put paid to his career, along with any chance of a good night’s sleep. Now he lives in Point Dume with his widowed mother, Nancy, a Malibu astrologer who doesn’t care much for him or his lifestyle, and struggles to survive the days between his AA meetings. Woody O’Rourke, a friend he’s met through AA, puts him onto a job selling used cars at a Toyota dealership, but it’s a horrible gig—a bullying boss, inflexible rules, the constant threat of getting summarily fired—even before Woody gets himself killed. JD, who discovers the body, spares no detail of the torture his friend must have endured in the hours before he finally died and adds that, for some reason he doesn’t understand himself, he decided to take Woody’s severed penis with him before the cops arrived. Detectives Jim Archer and Taboo Afrika of the Santa Barbara PD are breathing down his neck; his job at Len Sherman Toyota hangs by a thread; his mother wants him out of her house; he can’t help wondering why fellow salesperson Vikki Martin, initially so cold to him, has suddenly turned so friendly; but he’s mainly concerned with tracking down the unknown party who set fire to his mother’s Honda and framed JD for drunk driving. The answers will involve Nazis, incest, and the escalating violence meted out by both JD’s enemies and the hero himself, who’d make a great "before" poster boy for a class in anger management.
Fante (Fante: A Family’s Legacy of Writing, Drinking, and Surviving, 2011, etc.) delivers the goods for devotees of torture porn.