Los Angeles, 1963. John F. Kennedy is President, and Jan & Dean’s “Surf City” is at the top of the charts.
Ryan Zorn, a 23-year-old Venice Beach surfer working in his uncle’s detective agency, lands his first solo case when a divorced mother with plenty to hide hires him to find her missing son. The investigation turns into a case of blackmail and murder as Ryan is drawn deep into Hollywood’s hidden past — a past that involves the anti-Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s, and closeted gay stars.
From the decaying piers of Santa Monica bay, to the posh mansions of Beverly Hills, to a mysterious rustic retreat, Ryan navigates a city on the brink of change. The conservative era of blacklisting and conformity is in its dying days, and a new culture of experimentation and openness is just emerging. To solve the case, Ryan must confront his own personal demons, preconceptions, and homophobia as he untangles a deadly web of behind-the-scenes movie secrets.
So this story doesn’t have supernatural in it… It is just your average detective story, so if you only want to read about supernatural, skip the review. Although seriously this is a very good story.
Uncle Zorn, the owner of the PI firm gets sick. Hospitalized with a bad prognosis. Ryan goes from young assistant surfer to head of the PI firm. When a single mother comes in needing help to find her wayward son. Ryan assumes it will be an easy job and so he takes it. Little does he know that this ‘easy’ job is going to be a much deeper hole than he expected.
Ryan is a surfer, and so the author will remind us every once in a while, so while it is not front and center all the time, you do see hints. I really enjoy that because it adds a level of characterization.
Set in 1963. I don’t remember it stating that in the story. Other than when the author discusses the cars, the weapons, the drugs used, etc. It seems like there was a lot of research that went into this book to ensure that it is appropriate to the era. The societal constructs of the 1960s is much different than what our perceptions of certain things are now. Those differences are at times hard to into words at times. Understanding the treatment of minorities has a great impact on the story. This story is grounded and strong.