God Is a Bullet

Boston Teran, Author, Teran Boston, Author Alfred A. Knopf $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-375-40188-6
Strung-out on junk and tattooed with the dates of helter-skelter-style deaths they've caused, the kids who walk ""The Left-Handed Path"" talk Satanic talk and spread terror through the very Christian Southern California town of Clay. This tautly paced and harrowing debut thriller begins with the cult's murder of desk cop Bob Hightower's ex-wife and her husband, and the kidnapping of his 14-year-old daughter, Gabi. Desperate and driven, Hightower takes a leave of absence to look for the abducted girl. Fresh out of leads--his search has been stymied by a fellow policeman who's in league with the cult--Hightower meets Case, a 29-year-old, severely traumatized ex-heroin addict who is unable to forget her horrifying experiences as the sexual slave of the demonic Cyrus, who heads the bloodthirsty self-styled ""tribe"" that controls the local drug trade from a remote desert outpost. With Case's help, Hightower goes undercover and infiltrates the group. Though some of the book's early passages seem melodramatic, the tale becomes riveting as the unlikely duo follow Cyrus and his gang to hell and back. Teran does a fine job of contrasting Case's struggle to overcome Cyrus's pervasive presence in her mind with Hightower's ethical dilemma at taking orders from a junkie. The moral twists and turns of the searing narrative are jolting; the pair are even forced to commit murder for Cyrus before a climactic showdown in the desert. Cynical and DeLillo-like in its observations, paced with present-tense immediacy, Teran's hard-boiled prose does not belittle the tragedy at this novel's core. Not for the faint-hearted, the book is as addictive as illegal substances. Agent, David Hale Smith. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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FORMATS
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-345-43988-8
Open Ebook - 255 pages - 978-0-307-80682-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-04006-9
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