Ray Garton, . . Subterranean, $40 (505pp) ISBN 978-1-931081-44-3

Nasty, raucous, at times hilarious, Garton's (Live Girls) latest delivers what the title promises, in spades. But the core of the book is a sensational murder trial clearly inspired by the O.J. Simpson case. The cast features an abrasive female judge who swoons over the film stars who flit in and out of the courtroom, tongue-tied prosecuting attorneys, a nerdy defendant who reserves his right to silence, and Rona Horowitz, a pint-sized, high-octane defense lawyer. Even Johnny Cochran, among a host of real-life celebrities, makes a brief appearance. The defendant may be guilty as hell, but part of the fun is watching dynamo Rona cook up one outrageous legal trick after another to try to extricate her client. Meanwhile, the story's hero, young buck Adam Julian, is sleeping with his hated schlock-film producer father's new wife, as well as her underage but wildly sexed, drugged and dangerous daughter, Alyssa. Alyssa is the unlikely chip the author will eventually cash in to supply enough gore for two or three more trips to the courtroom. Other grotesques include a porn filmmaker with a stable of young boys available for rent, a maimed explosives maker, and Adam's fat friend Carter, who unfortunately dashes outside screaming with a realistic-looking water pistol just as two nervous cops are approaching. This over-the-top excursion into the underside of Tinseltown provides more thrills than a high-speed car chase on an L.A. freeway. (Oct.)

Forecast:While technically a crime novel, this deluxe limited edition will be quickly snatched up by fans of Garton's horror fiction.