The Four Last Things (Simeon Grist Mystery #1) by Timothy Hallinan
Simeon Grist knows L.A. inside and out–the sex for sale, the chic seductions, every rip-off from City Hall to Venice. So when he’s hired by a Hollywood recording company to shadow one Sally Oldfield, suspected of embezzlement, Grist discovers she’s entangled in The Church of the Eternal Moment–a million-dollar religious scam built around a 12-year-old channeler and the voice of a man who has been dead for a millennium.
When Sally turns up dead, Simeon knows he’s become the next target of a very flesh-and-blood entity waiting in the back alleys of sin and salvation to give him a brutal look at the four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell–revelations he could definitely live without…
“Terrific, well-crafted, thoroughly satisfying . . . updates Raymond Chandler’s vision of life in Los Angeles through Grist’s sardonic, often hilarious observations . . . leaves one looking forward to Hallinan’s future endeavors.” (Los Angeles Herald-Tribune)
“It’s rare to find a first novel in the mystery genre that boasts a smoothly plotted story, crisp dialogue, and excellent characterizations . . . This exciting tale accomplishes all three . . . The book never falters, sustaining suspense and interest throughout . . . a sure winner.” (Booklist)
Hallinan has a genuine ability to write effective prose, engaging repartee, sharp and witty characterizations . . . this laudable first effort could become a notable series.” (The Washington Post Book World)
“Wonderful . . . you gotta love a novel that starts with the hard-drinking private eye sighing about the dame he’s been following.” (West Coast Review of Books)
“Hallinan neatly maximizes his gift for offbear characters and clever pacing . . . Simeon Grist, the sleuth he created, is in a class by himself.” (Inside Books)