A free-wheeling private detective runs afoul of a powerful record producer, the police, and thugs of all shapes and sizes.
“Punk hunk” by night, private investigator by day, singer Greg Salem and his drummer/sidekick Marco have just finished a successful gig with their band, Bad Citizen Corporation, and are looking at a tour. Tragedy intervenes in the form of a corpse hanging from a door at the club they’ve just played. A 1998 prologue has already shown Greg’s older brother, Tim, hanging himself. Ominously, the corpse the Corporation finds has a note pinned to it: “I am Tim.” While Los Angeles police try to unravel that mystery, Salem & Associates catch an interesting job: trailing voluptuous Gabriella Flores, wife and protégée of high-powered record producer Tony Flores. It turns into a wild evening, with drunken Gabriella rescued from a probable abduction/assault and showing her gratitude by sleeping with unchivalrous Marco. When a picture of Greg and Gabriella holding hands is posted online, two of Flores’ thugs kidnap him and take him to their boss for a grilling. Flores throws a curveball by suggesting that he might be interested in Bad Citizen. Even though Salem & Associates are off the job, they’re compelled to investigate when murder enters the picture. Against this backdrop, the case of the hanged man (including flashbacks to Tim in 1998) and plans for the Bad Citizen tour move inexorably forward. Never a dull moment.
Lauden’s prose zooms along with an arch energy, and the final installment in his Greg Salem trilogy (Grizzly Season, 2016, etc.) keeps the plot twists coming at warp speed.