Disgraced journalist Benjamin Justice, who treats so many of his cases (Rhapsody in Blood, 2006, etc.) as if they’re all about him, finally gets one that is.
Long before he returned his Pulitzer for fabricating information in an AIDS feature, Benjamin Justice had already made news as the 17-year-old who shot his father to death when he caught him raping Benjamin’s sister. Now he’s written Deep Background, a memoir that lays bare the most unsavory facts of his life. But evidently not bare enough for everyone. Justice’s longtime professional rival, bulldog freelance reporter Cathryn Conroy, is sniffing around every source in West Hollywood in an attempt to tarnish Justice even further. Never-been actor Jason Holt is sending Justice vicious anonymous postcards and following them up with nasty phone calls. And a skinhead biker is stalking Justice, lurking outside his meetings and sitting in his restored Mustang but mysteriously refusing to attack him, even when Justice, always ready to get physical, throws the first punch. Justice’s attempts to look beyond his budding romance with ex-priest Ismael Aragon to the trouble his book has stirred up eventually reopen the case of an accidental death ten years ago, but the mystery is so perfunctory, transparent and poorly integrated that it’s much less interesting than Justice’s endless struggle with the demons from his past.
Just the thing for fans who want to hear Justice reading extended passages from Deep Background at bookstores, including an audience limited to a single dozing homeless man who provokes deep sympathy.