A detective with a philosophical bent won’t give up on a murder case.
Famous filmmaker Arthur Vonz wants John Darvelle to find his former girlfriend. Vonz has a beautiful wife and a legendary career making everything from blockbusters to quirky money losers, but Suzanne Neal, a stunningly beautiful part-time actress, is no longer taking his calls. It doesn’t take Darvelle long to find Suzanne. He sees her in the company of a famous movie star and then on the balcony of her expensive condo with an unidentified man. But finding her does her no good, for that very night she’s shot in the head and thrown from that same balcony. Even after Darvelle calls the police anonymously to tell them as much as he knows, the murder continues to haunt him, and he keeps investigating on his own. His area connections help him identify Suzanne as a “Pipe Girl,” one of a group of very special women who provide every conceivable service to the rich and famous and are guaranteed never to tell. That guarantee is apparently kept by killing anyone with loose lips as a warning to others. Darvelle visits Hollywood studios, Beverly Hills mansions and low-end bars looking for answers. He knows he’s getting close when he’s attacked and left for dead. The answers he finds are shocking even to a tough PI who thinks he’s seen it all.
Darvelle (Body Copy, 2009) has echoes of notably introspective California sleuths from Phillip Marlowe to Harry Bosch. Extensive descriptions of greater LA provide a suitable backdrop for a complex mystery.