Jimmy Boone is an idealist. He thinks things should be a certain way. That’s what got him in trouble in the first place. That’s how he lost the best damn job he ever had. That’s how he gets into huge trouble in Richard Lange’s new debut novel, This Wicked World.
Boone used to be a body guard for the rich and famous of Los Angeles, until he beat up a client. Now, he’s a bartender on parole. Boone gets talked into going with his buddy Robo to meet with an old man, Mr. Rosales, to find out what happened to his grandson, Oscar. Oscar, a Guatemalan immigrant, was found dead on a bus a few days earlier, full of dog bites and infection. Oscar was a good boy, with a young son and a girl he was going to marry.
This quickly leads Boone from personal favor to personal mission, as he gets drawn deeper into the life that Oscar led. Boone finds himself following Oscar’s trail to Twenty-Nine Palms, where he stumbles onto a life-long criminal, Bill Taggert, and his henchmen who are running a dog fighting ring and planning “the big one” that wil finally give them enough money to quit for good.
Boone’s mission to do the right thing gets him mixed up with Olivia, Taggert’s former stripper girlfriend, and her druggie brother, Virgil, while they try to exact some sort of revenge on Taggert for the way he treats them. This is a lot more than Boone has bargained for, since all he ever wanted to do was find out how Oscar Rosales died.
This Wicked World is a very well written book that shows the seedier side of life in LA. I guarantee you’re not going to find anyone wearing any Manolos or Prada in this book.
It shows both the good and bad of each character. For example, while it shows Jimmy Boone searching for the answers of how Oscar Rosales died, it also shows how he totally loses his cool and acts before thinking, ending up in prison. It even shows the good, tender side Taggert, and how he (sometimes) feels towards his girlfriend, Olivia.
The only one who doesn’t seem to have a good side anymore is Olivia, who has been beaten down so many times she has nothing left to give.
Everyone in this story is looking for something, answers, redemption, a way out, something. Everyone has a purpose.
This book is not for everyone. It is brash, and it is extremely violent. But it is very well written. Particularly the dialogue. You can easily envision the characters saying the things that Lange has them saying.
This Wicked World is available on June 30th.