GOODBYE L.A. by Murray Sinclair


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Third in the L.A. series and, curiously, the one with the best plot and the worst writing--as if Nelson Algren had asked Diane on Cheers to be his collaborator. Narrator Ben Crandel is now less noir-inspired sleaze--his porno writing career is kaput; it's all screenplays and take-a-meeting time for him--and he's a more complacent middle-ager, with two deep worries: the despondency of his friend Steifer, an L.A. cop pining for Times reporter Elise; and the hostility of his adopted son Petey, a punk musician whose idea of a stimulating conversation is to raise his middle finger. Petey soon scrams, and Ben can find neither hide nor (spiked) hair of him or his punk group Claustrophobic. Mostly to keep from worrying, Ben fills in his time by helping Steifer look for Elise, who has disappeared while investigating a story on the punk scene. A murder and a bombing later, they find themselves reckoning with Christian Citizens for a Respectable Society (CCRS), whose prayers take the form of Soviet AK-47s, MAC-10s, .45 caliber ammo, anti-tank stuff, grenades, bazookas, magnums, plus enough Nazi uniforms to outfront a second front. One such unhandsomely adorned fanatic calls a press conference in Ben's apartment, then commits suicide. Why is this so-called church infiltrating the punks? B'nai B'rith's Mrs. Finestein suggests that it's to wreck the Eric Weiss Center and its Holocaust Service. Blood, gore, and sermons abound, with a wrap-up leaving Steifer grief-stricken and Petey still missing, doing his own thing. A dark, grainy look at L.A. and environs, punk/parent relations, and club cacaphonics. It would make a great RKO black-and-white movie.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1988
Publisher: Black Lizard--dist. by Creative Arts