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EAST ON SUNSET by Ken Mercer


by Ken Mercer

Pub Date: June 7th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-55837-6
Publisher: Minotaur

The stalemate between a violent drug dealer and the down-and-out ex-cop who put him in prison quickly escalates past the point of no return.

Erik Crandall is released from prison addicted to the powerful steroids that have added 100 pounds of muscle to his small frame, and hell-bent on getting the money he thinks he deserves from LAPD detective Will Magowan, who stole a pound of Crandall's fentanyl after arresting him. Unfortunately for both of them, Will knows nothing about the drugs and has been fired from the police department for his own drug abuse. As he struggles to stay clean, he starts a new job as a security guard at Dodger Stadium and tries to rebuild his strained relationship with his newly pregnant wife Laurie, a yoga instructor. Crandall's 'roids make him prone to uncontrollable outbursts. His showdown with Will at the stadium is the first of several tense encounters, fatal violence simmering beneath them all. Will's appeals to police and the parole system are met with indifference and suspicion, partly because of his history. Even after Crandall nearly killed Will and Laurie's dog during an ambush on a remote hiking path, she forbids Will to bring a gun into the house. So Will visits his retired ex-partner, Ray Miller, who retains strong bonds within the department and promises to take care of Crandall. A few days later, Miller is found shot in the head, an apparent suicide. Will isn't so sure.

Despite many boilerplate elements, Mercer (Slow Fire, 2010) masterfully builds suspense and provides some welcome twists.