Monday, April 30, 2007

Read: "L.A. Rex" by Will Beall

Read: L.A. Rex by Will Beall, 2006, 1594489262.

Great novel. One of the better books I have read in a while. Really good writing by Beall; he does a great job with his characters and, especially, his setting. Beall works as an officer for the LAPD in South Central Los Angeles. L.A. Rex is set in South Central and Beall's familiarity with the area really shows in his vivid descriptions of the neighborhoods and the people who live there.

The mentality of a gangbanger is difficult for me to grasp but Beall does a good job of showing how they act amongst and against each other and other gangs. The horrid and violent things that go on in the ratty L.A. neighborhoods are shocking. The kid who pays his crackhead prostitute mother for sex because she is so out of it and because he accepts it as the only attention he gets from her really freaked me out. The inexplicable - to me - and casual violence against each other weirded me out too. I just cannot wrap my head around why anyone would not care about going to prison or would want to kill a cop.

Set in about 1998, Beall's storyline follows Ben Halloran (formerly Kahn), the son of a big-time LA attorney who is famous for defending druglords and regularly sueing the city for brutality. Ben's story of growing up with an asshole father, and moving in criminal circles as a result, is mostly told through flashbacks. After Ben is set-up and kicked out by his father one of those criminals tells Ben to join the LAPD to be one of his inside men. Partnered with an older training officer called Marquez, Ben starts to like police work and his loyalty shifts to his fellow officers.

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