City of Fallen Angels by Paul Buchanan

City of Fallen Angels by Paul Buchanan

The oppressive heat of LA is suffocating the life out of Jim Keegan as he struggles to wade through a heat haze of fragmented evidence that begins to soften his senses as the bridge between nightmares and reality implodes into a potential miscarriage of justice.

An ethereal Marilyn Monroe appears omnipresent in the thoughts of the disorientated PI and her symbolic presence, as the ultimate fallen angel, reflects the downward trajectory of Eve, a young woman who seemingly has it all apart from the love to shield her from the fragility of life.

Keegan falls under Eve’s spell as the author develops a downbeat gumshoe character who is a captivating mix of the dishevelled Columbo and the chiselled charisma of Jim Rockford. The B list glamour of Hollywood provides an enticing backdrop to a convoluted search for the truth that is ingrained with the grim reality of a what might have been and a suppressed morality at odds with the superficiality of tinsel town.

The supporting cast of characters are worthy of a Quentin Tarantino homage to the 1960’s film industry with Kipper Lusk at the fore; hiding behind a pseudonym meriting only limited respect in the mafioso world he once inhabited and probably now only worthy of a cameo at a Mario Puzo tribute rather than an invite to the Godfather’s 70th.

Nevertheless his acerbic wit and limitless black book of underworld contacts are an unexpected distraction to the unlikely and stuttering relationship between Jim and Eve which assumes an accelerated frisson following an apparently accidental shooting. The plot is interwoven with seemingly important but ultimately bit part players whose relevance to the story is questionable but if the author is playing the Hollywood long game, where sequels are the only indicator of success, then may be the inconclusive ending is an understated segue into act 2 and a seat at the A list literary table.

City of Fallen Angels by Paul Buchanan (Published by Legend Press. Price £8.99). Buy the book from Amazon.

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