The Four Last Things

Timothy Hallinan, Author
Timothy Hallinan, Author Dutton Books $16.95 (318p) ISBN 978-0-453-00650-7
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
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. ( June )
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