cover image Slipstream


Leslie Larson, . . Crown/Shaye Areheart, $23.95 (324pp) ISBN 978-0-307-33799-3

Next time you join the throngs of people hurrying through a major airport like LAX, spare a thought for those who work there. That's what Larson's impressively rich, darkly plotted and seriously frightening debut thriller does. That bartender, Wylie, who just poured you a drink to calm your nerves: what's his story? Why does this twitchy Vietnam vet who can "play slide guitar, frame a house, smoke a salmon to perfection" avoid entanglements and spend his working hours serving Dewar's at $6.50 a pop? Why does Wylie getting his ex-con brother, Logan, a job at the airport cause so much trouble? Why can't Rudy, the head of a plane-cleaning crew, tell his wife, Inez, about his being fired? And how is the lesbian love life of Logan's daughter, Jewell, a hard-working architecture student, affected by what happens to Rudy and by Inez's plan to leave her husband? Larson zooms in on these five deceptively ordinary people, showing how their lives intersect and climax in a hail of bullets. Best of all is the way Larson uses LAX to capture the despair and sadness of a city like Los Angeles. (May)