Monday, October 13, 2008
L.A. HEAT by P.A. Brown
Reviewed by Niel S. Plakcy
Chris Bellamere seems to live a charmed life in the City of Angels. Blond and handsome, he’s a well-paid computer engineer, living in a luxurious home and tricking with a different sexy guy each night. But darkness lurks even in the sunny environs of LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood.
LA homicide detective David Eric Laine couldn’t be more different. A beefy, hairy bear, deeply closeted, he lives in a crappy house and suffers the homophobic comments of his partner and other officers in silence.
A serial killer brings these two men together—and ultimately into each other’s arms. In P.A. Brown’s debut mystery, L.A. Heat, Detective Laine and his partner are chasing a man they’ve come to call The Carpet Killer, who kidnaps gay men, tortures them, kills them, then wraps them in carpeting for disposal.
This is not the sun-drenched LA of the movies. It’s a workaday vision of this complicated city, from the side streets of Beverly Hills to the deeply wooded canyons where evil lurks. Against his judgment, David finds himself falling in love with Chris, though all clues seem to point to Chris as the killer.
All David’s strength of will must transfer from maintaining his place in the closet to believing that Chris is not the killer himself, but instead the killer’s target. Chris brings his considerable computer talents into play as he seeks information on a former trick, now dead. “While the crackers and the decrypters ran against the database he refreshed his coffee one more time… In another ten minutes his zombie machine registered success. He was in.”
L.A. Heat is not so much a mystery as a thriller, though the clues don’t all come together for our intrepid detectives until the heart-stopping conclusion.
This is a strong new entry in the narrow niche of gay male mystery, and I hope the future brings more adventures for this sexy pair.