GHOSTTOWN by Mercedes Lambert


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A final go-round for scrappy subsistence-level L.A. lawyer Whitney Logan and her ex-prostitute secretary Lupe Ramos (Soultown, 1996, etc.).

When you’re scrabbling for every dollar the court system is handing out, you can’t afford to be choosy about your clients, and there’s not much to recommend Tony Red Wolf, who’s been picked up in an alley and accused of fighting Ernie Little Horse in a battle of honor over Ernie’s cousin Shirley Yellowbird. Well aware that her client doesn’t like her any more than she likes him, Whitney succeeds in springing him from the lockup anyway. Long past midnight, awakened by Tony’s barely intelligible phone call, she runs out to the San Gabriel Mission, where she finds him standing guard over Shirley’s dismembered corpse. Of course he didn’t kill her, he sniffs; he was summoned to the scene by a prophetic vision. It’s the first of many indications that Lambert, who died in 2003 after her publisher had rejected this last novel, has a healthy disrespect for the genre’s rules. Readers caught off guard by the mystical ending should remember that when Whitney asks Tony much earlier what he’s doing back on the street after his second arrest, he replies that he changed into a cockroach to escape the LAPD, then into a hawk to fly away.

Michael Connelly’s foreword and the biographical afterword by Lambert’s friend Lucas Crown make it clear that her last testament is haunted in more ways than one.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59414-588-9
Page count: 262pp
Publisher: Five Star
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2007