cover image Los Angeles Without a Map

Los Angeles Without a Map

Richard Rayner / Author Mariner Books $16.95 (186p) ISBN 978-1

British journalist Rayner's fiction debut is a funny, fractured mission of vengeance against a city he likens to a ``terrible nightclub'' and its denizens to a gallery of grotesques. Fleeing his staid life in London to pursue an infatuation with a Playboy bunny, the narrator, named after the author, lands in L.A. only to discover that his Anglo diffidence and manners make him one oddball among many; quickly, he learns that he's ``just another hustler, with a cute accent.'' As Barbara the bunny moves further out of reach, Rayner finds himself trapped on the city's fringes, traveling on public buses whose drivers are budding hijackers, working as a pool cleaner for show-biz higher-ups, and sinking in a morass of drugs, not-quite-starlets and unsold scripts. Studded with bitingly nasty anecdotes about celebrities as diverse as Ike Turner and Jerry Lewis (neither of whom is likely to be pleased), the narrative is far too random and scattershot to succeed as a novel; but as a collection of observations, it's lethally accurate. (Jan.)