The traditional gumshoe novel is given a Hollywood makeover.
The streets of L.A. are gritty and the crimes are heinous. The added twist? You won’t find any comfortable shoes or ill-fitting trench coats in Claire Fontaine’s closet—this private eye is decidedly more stylish than Colombo. Claire is spoiled, bored and rich. Her insatiable curiosity and penchant for spy toys lead her to believe she’d make a fine investigator. Claire’s Daddy pulls some strings with the mayor and lands her an interview with Henry Bennett—an old-school PI. Bennett is a retired cop with a gift for solving cold cases that stump the LAPD. This curmudgeonly character bristles at Claire’s impeccable manicures and accessorizing flair. Bennett has plenty of his own quirks, from farting to consuming copious amounts of saturated fat. Yes indeed, Claire and Bennett make an odd couple. In between rubbing each other in all the obvious wrong ways, they are in hot pursuit of a serial killer. Their perpetrator favors pretty young things, girls who party hard and aren’t afraid of the seedier side of L.A. Bennett uses his connections in the LAPD and his hard-nosed interrogation style to dig up clues. Claire’s technique is a little different—she dispenses skin-care tips and tanning lotion in return for leads. While the clues and the ultimate plot resolution aren’t terribly inventive, Enright treats the reader to a swell tour of L.A. along this circuitous investigation. The author matches the staccato pace and quick rhythms of the finest detective novels. Furthermore, she spices up the genre with sharp commentary on the fashions and home décor of L.A.’s trendy, wealthy denizens. Claire’s a bankable character; her most endearing quality is her ability to rebound from disappointment. Plus, much like the cast of Charlie’s Angels, this heroine always looks fabulous in the face of danger.
Crisp writing and clever characters make this updated debut crime novel a winner.