CITY OF FEW ANGELS: A REVIEW OF JORDAN HARPER'S EVERYBODY KNOWS
Jordan Harper belongs with S.A. Cosby and Gabino Iglesias as one of the top crime writers of his generation. He came to the attention of his peers with his short work (most that can be found in he collection Love & Other Wounds). and gained acclaim with his debut She Rides Shotgun. His sophomore effort, Everybody Knows, released last month, has already set the crime fiction bar for 2023.
Harper gives us two protagonists who operate in the L.A.'s half light-
Mae Pruitt excels at "black bag p.r." for a firm operating at the nexus of the city's rich, powerful, and famous. The book introduces her in action, covering up an actress' lost weekend that earned the starlet a black eye. Her boss, Dan Hennigan, tells her he has something big he'd like to pull her in for, but she has to agree to be in before she tells her. Something they can cash out on. After some internal debate she agrees and goes to meet for lunch to tell him. Before she gets the chance, Dan is gunned down in an apparent carjacking. Mae isn't buying the story and wants to know the real one.
Mae's ex boyfriend, Chris Tamburr, an ex cop who left the force under a cloud, kicks ass and gets his red blood pumping working as "security" for one of the shops connected to her employer. They ask him to talk to his LAPD buddies to see if there are any questions about the carjacking. Chris discovers a few. When a new murders occurs, Mae and him team up as they become targets themselves.
Their search for the truth takes them through the high and low of their city. Showbiz and political players block their paths. Some truth gets dropped from assistants and crew members who manage the lives of these graven images of gods. Then there are the outcasts and homeless that deal with surviving everyday life as well as a predator who sets them on fire.
The story connects them all. Harper captures the major social gulf of people all within sight of one another in a town of desperation Those at the top are only, tenuously so, those below struggle to get get to their dream or simply find something to eat. All of the desperation leads to desperate actions and a collective narcissism where the people don't notice the world burning around them.
Harper's writing brings it all to a sharp and concrete life. His clear and driving prose pops, often placing Mae and Chris in locales with haunted histories, like The Chateau Marmont. He conjures
the neon drenched nights and sun blasted days in your mind like a great cinematographer does on the screen. All of this captures both the rush and eventual fear that our two hardened professionals receive from operating in this world.
Everybody Knows announces Jordan harper's talents to a broader audience. James Ellroy fans will love it, although it has a voice all it's own. It's the voice of an insider and citizen of The City Of Angels who understands its demons.