Who’s killing the candidates for California governor?
Former child star Odie Roberts exults over the apparent heart attack of fellow gubernatorial candidate (and front-runner) Crenshaw, but prematurely. A pair of thugs named Barry and Nails throw Odie off a balcony to his death. Leaders in the large remaining field are rap star Two-Bits, career politician Michael Sanchez, celebrity Arnold “The Mountain” Schwarzkov, pharmaceutical magnate Richard Steel and city councilwoman Eleanor Black, whose brother John, along with a gonzo Aussie named Harley, run an investigation agency that specializes in “Child Protection Services.” (John and Eleanor’s mother Barbara is a senator.) The brisk narrative focuses mostly on John and on the (mis)adventures of the inept Nails and Barry, but it encompasses multiple other perspectives as well. John gets more interested in his sister’s campaign when he sits next to beautiful Sierra Rodriguez at a fund-raising event. At first she doesn’t know his identity, and he doesn’t know she’s a reporter; flirtation blossoms, complicated by Sierra’s abusive ex Gil, who’s stalking her. The reader learns early on that Steel employs Nails and Barry, who set their sights on Eleanor. Their first attempt is a bust and their second a near miss, landing her in a coma and putting John and Harley on the case.
Cook (47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers, 2006) fashions a lively plot, but his humor is strained and sophomoric.