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Fans of Robert B. Parker's Spenser books should try this one. Hallinan, a 2011 Best Novel Edgar finalist, began his six-book Simeon Grist series with this white-knuckle mystery. Simeon Grist knows L.A. inside and out--the sex for sale, the chic seductions, every rip-off from City Hall to Venice. So when he's hired by a Hollywood recording company to shadow one Sally Oldfield, suspected of embezzlement, Grist discovers she's entangled in The Church of the Eternal Moment--a million-dollar religious scam built around a 12-year-old channeler and the voice of a man who has been dead for a millennium. When Sally turns up dead, Simeon knows he's become the next target of a very flesh-and-blood entity waiting in the back alleys of sin and salvation to give him a brutal look at the four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell--revelations he could definitely live without...
From Publishers Weekly:
"Simeon Grist, former professor of English at UCLA and fledgling L.A. private eye, makes his debut in this clever mystery. To propel his plot, Hallinan adroitly depicts a new religion with avaricious leaders, New Age channeling and an overlay of California kookiness. Hired by the head of security of Monument Records to follow employee Sally Oldfield, suspected of selling information to competitors, Grist develops a liking for the woman. Then she is brutally murdered, and Grist is shocked to find that an impostor assigned him to the case. Investigating on his own, he follows leads to the Church of the Eternal Moment, with its child oracle Angel Ellspeth, her oh-so-smooth personal physician Dick Merryman and its crew of Listeners to whom the faithful confess all. As Grist searches for clues, aided by a former girlfriend, Eleanor Chan, now writing for the Los Angeles Times, he is threatened, beaten and involved in another murder. Televangelism, brainwashing, research into the early 19th-century diaspora of new American religions and a most unusual ally lead Grist to the denouement of this very satisfying mystery."
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Terrific, well-crafted, thoroughly satisfying . . . updates Raymond Chandler's vision of life in Los Angeles through Grist's sardonic, often hilarious observations . . . leaves one looking forward to Hallinan's future endeavors.” (Los Angeles Herald-Tribune)
“It's rare to find a first novel in the mystery genre that boasts a smoothly plotted story, crisp dialogue, and excellent characterizations . . . This exciting tale accomplishes all three . . . The book never falters, sustaining suspense and interest throughout . . . a sure winner.” (Booklist)
Hallinan has a genuine ability to write effective prose, engaging repartee, sharp and witty characterizations . . . this laudable first effort could become a notable series.” (The Washington Post Book World)
“Wonderful . . . you gotta love a novel that starts with the hard-drinking private eye sighing about the dame he's been following.” (West Coast Review of Books)
“Hallinan neatly maximizes his gift for offbear characters and clever pacing . . . Simeon Grist, the sleuth he created, is in a class by himself.” (Inside Books)
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