Santa Monica: international hub for travellers, luxury hotels, beach-side homes of the famous, blue skies and the homeless. A safe town where the crime rate has dropped by 50%.
A man with a British passport clenched between his teeth is discovered early one morning, inside a suitcase on a popular beach, drowned with both his eyes and tongue cut out. One week earlier, not far away on Ocean Avenue, the 28 year old son of a wealthy Mexican aristocrat is found butchered in his apartment, nearby to his brutally murdered cleaner. Local crime may have dropped, but the murder rate is soaring.
Ex-cop, ex-pat, lapsed Catholic actor Private Investigator Mandy never expected to be hired by the dead Mexican’s family. Why did they choose to see him? Why was he recommended to the family by the Chief of Police when the man clearly despised him? Mandy is too far along the precipice to worry. It’s not just about proving he can get back up on to the horse – getting out of debt, stopping the feeling of being alone and like an outsider, he needs to succeed for himself and most importantly for his cancer ridden ex police partner. The arrival of Pedro’s honey coated girlfriend from London ramps up the stakes, as does the help of a candid Catholic priest, who is in Santa Monica to help the homeless.
Even though it has been four years since his last murder case, Mandy starts making excellent progress. At least he does until the discovery of one of the key witnesses’ dead body. The corpse yields a common denominator clue that leads Mandy to Silver Lake and back, all the way to an unusual address close to the ocean. What he doesn’t know is that he has now been spotted by the enemy, and unpleasant steps have been put into place to warn him off permanently.
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