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L.A. Rex: A Novelby Will Beall
Synopses & Reviews
A fierce and ferocious, grittily cinematic debut set in South Central Los Angeles that recalls both Richard Price and James Ellroy — with a soundtrack from Death Row records — by an LAPD antigang officer who continues to patrol the streets he writes about.
As far as everyone in the squad room knows, Ben Halloran is completely fresh to the streets of the 77th Division, a soft kid from the West Side who's decided to become a cop and just happened to draw the hardest neighborhood in L.A. But demons from Ben's complicated past catch up with him — and his tough, oddly principled Daryl Gates-era partner, Miguel Marquez — all too quickly. From the moment Ben and Marquez hit the streets together, they're pulled into a web of ultraviolent corruption and retribution involving hardcore Crip gangbangers and tagalong gangsta-rap gloryhounds, L.A.'s Mexican Mafia, sleazy celebrity defense attorneys, and dirty cops with distinctly self-serving definitions of law enforcement. Ben is forced to choose among father figures and apparent destinies — trying to obey (and discover) his own moral principles as well as his desperate animal instinct simply to stay alive.
Author Will Beall is a Los Angeles police officer who has spent almost all of his career on the streets of South Central, much of it in antigang units. The book bristles with the energy and authenticity of his experience. But the true revelation of L.A. Rex is that Will Beall can write — his raw and brilliant, fearless prose simultaneously evokes Richard Price and James Ellroy. The result is an explosive thriller that takes us deep into a city that's further from Hollywood than we can imagine-a city that no other writer has managed to capture with thiskind of hard-earned insight and intensity. L.A. Rex is already on its way to the silver screen, and Beall is now at work on his next novel. Articulate cop and hard-nosed writer, Will Beall is perfectly poised to become the next great noir laureate of Los Angeles.
"Beall's hard-edged debut explores the familiar territory of drugs and corruption on the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles. In scenes that alternate between the past and the present, rookie police officer Ben Halloran, who's partnered with tough veteran Miguel Marquez, struggles to conceal his secret affiliation with a ganglord, even as the pair probe a series of murders. Beall, himself an officer in the LAPD's 77th Division, writes what he knows, but loads of pointless, gory violence (including gougings and mutilations), some awkward prose ('The party was Carcosa's schizophrenic attempt to reconcile his criminal origins with the propriety of a Mexican tradition'), improbable plot elements (thugs who quote Macbeth) and a lack of redeeming characters limit this one's appeal. Author tour. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[B]rutal and dynamic....L.A. Rex reads like a combination of Joseph Wambaugh and Tom Wolfe....In the end, all you can do is applaud Beall's audacity and keep flipping pages as fast as your eyes will carry you." Philadelphia Inquirer
"There are some graphically violent scenes, but they serve to enhance what is already a gritty tale. The story itself isn't overly compelling, but Ben is likable enough, and events come together nicely." Library Journal
"The pace is breathtaking, the dialogue snappy and street-savvy. Beall brings an insider's sense of authenticity to the book, as he serves as a police officer in the aforementioned 77th Division." BookPage
"By an L.A. cop about L.A. cops, a debut novel that could use a warning label: Strong Stomach Mandatory....Beall,still a working cop, is also a talented writer, but this is ugly stuff." Kirkus Reviews
"A kind of crime fighter's bildungsroman....It's hard to imagine a better training ground for crime writing than police work." New York Times Book Review
"Harkening back to the crackling prose and gimlet political eye of Wambaugh, and the underworld No Beast So Fierce veracity of Edward Bunker, Beall delivers a fantastic debut novel...one of the top novels of 2006." Entertainment World
"One hopes that in future books Beall finds a way to balance his obvious zeal for the genre and crime fighting with the careful interplay of character, plot and theme found in the best writing of Connelly, Wambaugh and others." Los Angeles Times
This is a fierce and ferocious debut set in South Central Los Angeles, that recalls both Richard Price and James Ellroy, written by an LAPD antigang officer who continues to patrol the streets he writes about.
A gritty and ferocious novel written by Will Beall, an LAPD officer who continues to patrol the streets he writes about. L.A. Rex is the story of Ben Halloran, a seemingly fresh-faced rookie assigned to the 77th Division, L.A.'s most violent precinct, still reeling from the Rodney King riots. Partnered with old-school cop Miguel Marquez, the two plunge fast and deep into the city's burgeoning gang war—and it soon becomes clear that they won't be able to emerge again unless Ben faces the demons he's running from once and for all. Bristling with the energy and authenticity of the author's experiences as a working policeman in South Central L.A., this is a literary thriller that doesn't just unfold. It explodes.
About the Author
Will Beall is an officer in the LAPD's 77th Division, which covers South Central Los Angeles. He is currently working on the screenplay of L.A. Rex for Scott Rudin Productions and his next novel, The Lion Hunters.
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