From the publisher—
As an expert crime-scene cleaner, Tom Tanner charges big money to carve out bullets, mop up fluids, disinfect walls, and dispose of whatever’s left of whomever was unlucky enough to require his services. For a handsome young ex-con determined to stay out of trouble, it’s practically a dream job—until he discovers a grisly pattern to his work: a string of gruesome murders at a cheap motel chain, always in Room 236.
While prying into a serial killer’s nasty scheme, Tom finds himself with a sharp-witted strip-bar waitress plastered to his side—and his conscience. Even more surprising, the killer starts prying into his life, luring Tom into a twisted friendship. As Tom struggles against his adversary’s wicked whims, risking the lives of the few people he holds dear, bodies pile up everywhere he turns. With a psychopath calling the shots, Tom has little choice but to clean house once and for all.
I’m usually very good at picking books I’m going to like but, every once in a long while, I blunder and I surely did with L.A. Rotten. Does that mean I think this is a bad book? Absolutely not, just that it’s not the right book for me.
I did check it out first as much as I could before signing on for the blog tour and didn’t see anything to put me off. Once I started reading, the first few paragraphs were pretty gruesome but not beyond what I expected—this is, after all, about a guy who cleans up crime scenes and, by the nature of the beast, such a job is frequently going to be gory and messy. The more I read, though, the more I realized the publisher’s description that accompanies the book is just not clear enough for a potential reader to make a choice. Yes, I expect violence in a story involving a serial killer and I expect gritty language in a mystery labeled by other readers as “hard-boiled”. I did not expect to actively dislike the protagonist or to be confronted with very graphic, explicit sex, both action and language, on top of increasingly gory crime scenes. It was all just a bit too much for me.
My feelings about the protagonist did ease up by the time I finished the book but he’s still not one of my favorite guys, by any means. He feels inordinately sorry for himself and his circumstances but he’s entirely responsible. Rather than do whatever he can to improve his lot, he chooses to indulge in activities to make him forget his life and why, for heaven’s sake, does he think all cops are out to get him? Surely, the LAPD has better things to do than harass an ex-con who did his time for a drunk driving death.
There is one character I liked quite a bit, Ivy. I can’t really say why but she appealed to me in a number of ways and she was a big reason I didn’t DNF the book.
I also found the storyline compelling. It makes sense to me that a crime scene cleaner could be the first to see a pattern and I didn’t find it odd that Tom would feel a need to look into his suspicions. In fact, Tom is much more credible as a sleuth than many other amateurs. (Amateur might not be exactly the right word since an ex-con certainly has more practical crime-solving knowledge than many other non-professionals.)
I should mention also that the actual construction of the book—grammar, formatting, etc.—is quite good. Having read a number of books by this publisher, I was not surprised at all that this one was so nicely edited.
Bottomline, for the right reader, this is a good entry in the hard-boiled crime fiction field and the author certainly has the background to make his storytelling as credible as you can hope. I think many will enjoy L.A. Rotten.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2015.
About the Author
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