NEVER COUNT OUT THE DEAD

Boston Teran, Author . St. Martin's/Minotaur $23.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-27115-2

Award-winning crime novelist Teran jars the soul with this chaotic, murderous tale set in a sunbaked, nightmarish Los Angeles County. Dee Storey is a 28-year-old speed addict who will do anything to get more drugs—from dating slimy Beverly Hills rich boy Burgess Ridden to carrying out a contract killing. Using her 13-year-old daughter, Shay, as bait, Dee shoots Sheriff John Victor Sully in the Mojave National Preserve, dumping him in a shallow grave. His bullet-ridden body buys the silence of coke dealer Charlie Foreman, the man who knows all the secrets behind two major school construction projects run by Ridden's father. It will be nearly 11 years before Shay, Dee, Charlie, Burgess and a comical cross-section of Southern California scumbags learn an important lesson–-never count out the dead. Miraculously surviving only to be slammed with trumped-up drug charges, Sully flees to El Paso, utterly lost and broken. Enter agoraphobic William Worth, owner of the Garden of Allah hotel and a biting L.A. columnist who writes under the byline "Landshark." Smelling something foul, Landshark urges Sully to come back to Los Angeles to haul Ridden and the crew to justice. Once in the city, Sully unknowingly becomes sexually involved with the now 23-year-old streetwise vixen, Shay Storey, ordered again by her mother to execute him. Fate has other plans, however, and a showdown is set in San Frasquito Canyon. Teran's razor-sharp tale is tinged with pseudoreligious sentiment as the author unravels an expansive and layered network of crimes committed by desperate people attempting to shed their own skin and the silent "dead" who long for resurrection. (May)

Forecast: Teran's first novel, God Is a Bullet, was nominated for an Edgar. This, his second, cements his status as a pulp virtuoso with a gothic sensibility. Unless fans get the word out, though, the book may fall through the cracks, since it isn't backed by any kind of marketing effort and will likely glean few reviews as a genre title.

Reviewed on: 04/30/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 401 pages - 978-0-312-98020-7
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