Everything But the Squeal by Timothy Hallinan
Tim Hallinan does it again. He takes us on a fast, funny, and difficult ride through the dark side of Los Angeles on the shoulders of another charming protagonist.
Simeon Grist takes a case that leads him to the phantom neighborhoods of Los Angeles’ lost children. Missing 13-year-old Aimee Sorrell ran all the way from Kansas to be a star.
But Aimee’s trail soon leads Simeon to the city morgue, the first stop on a perilous journey to find out what happens to America’s lost children when they go looking for love in all the wrong places.
Review From Booklist:
Hallinan’s first novel, The Four Last Things, introduced Southern California professor-turned-private-eye Simeon Grist and was notable for its superior plot, dialogue, and characterizations. The second Grist novel is as entertaining as the first, although its subject matter – child prostitution – is hardly light.
Hired to find Aimee Sorrell, a 13-year-old runaway from Kansas City who has been kidnapped, Grist attempts to get a lead by hanging out with the young hookers and pimps who frequent the area between Sunset and Fountin Boulevards in Hollywood.
His discoveries lead, first, to a strange alliance with the bizarre Mountain (a self-appointed guardian angel who tries to convince the runaways to go home) and, next, to the recruiting of Grist’s goddaughter, Jessica, and her computer-nerd friend, Morris, to assist in the hunt for Aimee.
Hallinan once again supplies a riveting story, and Grist continues to be one of the most intriguing of the new private eyes. Be forewarned, though: the denoument is grim indeed.
Review by EvKa:
This is Mr. Hallinan’s second novel, and the second that I’ve read. It started out a little rough (for me, your mileage may vary) in the first chapter, as he was setting up the setting (as it were) where much of the novel takes place, but from that point on it was literally very hard to put down.
I read it in two days (which is fast for me, as I like to read slowly and enjoy every sentence). Well-drawn characters (love-able and hate-able both) and a story line that sucks you from one scene to the next (and sucks the emotions right out of you).
Review by Lil Gluckstern:
Tim Hallinan does it again. He takes us on a fast, funny, and difficult ride through the dark side of Los Angeles on the shoulders of another charming protagonist. Simeon Grist is a P. I. who is good hearted, and loving, protective, and very angry at the exploitation of young girls-and boys- in the Hollywood sex trade.
When he is hired to find a missing girl, he becomes embroiled in some pretty awful situations, some of which are not for the squeamish. With the assistance of his teenaged goddaughter and her computer geek buddy, and a few other less conventional types, he sets about looking for her.
The pace is fast, the story is engaging, and I’m off to get the next Simeon. The only thing slowing me down is that I don’t want to run out of Hallinan’s books before he writes another.