cover image Sick City

Sick City

Tony O'Neill, Harper Perennial, $13.99 paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-178974-8

O'Neill (Down and Out on Murder Mile) delivers a Hollywood thriller that's equal parts acerbic social commentary à la Burroughs's Naked Lunch and extraordinary crime fiction misadventure featuring a druggie misfit named Jeffrey. After the sudden death of Jeffrey's "sugar daddy" lover, a retired L.A. cop, he's left with only a suitcase full of drugs, cash, and a "truly historic piece of celluloid," Sharon Tate's "last performance" in a private sex tape that includes an orgy with a laundry list of Hollywood stars. Jeffrey and a speed freak he met in rehab with connections to the movie industry come up with a half-baked plan to sell the homemade film, which could be worth millions, and gain some kind of salvation with the money. But with shadowy pasts, raging addictions, and a murderous psycho hot on their tails, the unlikely duo finds staying sober—and alive—increasingly difficult. Fans of Chuck Palahniuk and Warren Ellis will cherish this twisted tale and its repellent and disturbing imagery. (Aug.)