Tuesday, May 26, 2015
LA Rotten by Jeff Klima
Few would envy Tom Tanner. Fresh from prison where he served time for killing someone in a car accident when drunk, he has been harried from low-level job to low-level job by the victim's survivors. He has picked up a heroin habit in prison. Now he spends his days in one of the worst jobs imaginable. Tanner works for a company that cleans up after death and spends his days and nights sanitizing rooms after murders, suicides and other deaths.
He probably sees more of the deaths in LA than anyone else, even the police or the coroner's office. The police have specific territories but Tanner works all over the city. This being true, he is the first to notice a pattern. An inordinate number of deaths are happening in a low-rent motel chain with businesses all over the city; deaths that always occur in room 236. Tom doesn't tell the police once he notices; the police are the last people he wants in his life. He does tell a dancer from a strip club he has been seeing and together they start to investigate the crimes.
Soon, their investigation is successful, and they almost catch the killer at his next site. However, the killer gets away, and even worse, identifies Tom. He starts to play a cat-and-mouse scheme with Tanner, calling and writing him to let Tanner know the killer is watching him and biding his time. Who will win, the killer or Tom and Ivy?
Jeff Klima has created an interesting character in Tanner and the book is fast-paced and compelling. The reader can't help but be drawn to Tanner even as they are repulsed by him. Warning for readers: this book contains graphic violence and sex scenes. It is a prime example of modern day noir. This book is recommended for mystery readers.