A Call from L.A.
Son of a dashing old movie star, Jon Storm is an ex-cop from L.A. who has been living in self-imposed exile on the west coast of Mexico since a bum rap forced him to resign from the force. Upon learning that his longtime best friend and former partner has died in the line of duty while protecting a candidate for the Senate during an assassination attempt, Storm returns to California to investigate. The candidate, another childhood friend, is a '60s radical married to a character who seems modeled after both Linda Ronstadt and Jane Fonda. Storm's undercover search brings to light a series of murders and uncovers a Soviet plot to place an agent in the White House. Hansl (Sunstroke), depicts an assortment of Southern California habitats, from wealthy movie enclaves to biker camps, with dead-on accuracy. But the action likewise covers so much ground that the novel lacks focus, suffering a kind of identity crisis that makes it difficult for readers to suspend their disbelief. (January 4)