From the acclaimed author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller Blue Rain comes a gritty and compassionate story that moves from the streets of Los Angeles to the homes of Hollywood's rich and famous.
L.A. reporter Johnny Rose has a history of paying a heavy price for doing the right thing. When faced with a choice between keeping his cushy job as a columnist for a well-respected newspaper and investigating a story that no one wanted told, he chose the story. Now eking out a tougher living at a smaller newspaper. Johnny hasn't changed a bit.
Then he gets a desperate call from his runaway niece, Sara. Although she has always resisted leaving the streets, she suddenly wants to go home and needs his help. Hearing the fear in her voice, Johnny rushes to meet her -- but he's too late. As he pulls up to the curb, a fire rips through abandoned house where Sara and other street kids are "squatting," taking Sara's life. Afterward, Johnny is haunted by lingering questions about the fire and about Sara's life. Why was Sara suddenly so afraid? Why would someone murder a nameless street kid?
Johnny enlists the help of Kate, a dedicated guidance counselor at a shelter for runaways, and scours the streets and alleys of Hollywood for answers. His search quickly leads to Gem, a streetwise and mysterious teenager who shared the burned-out house with Sara and is now a target herself.
Racing to find the truth, Johnny puts his job, and his life, in danger. Powerful enemies and the forces at work in the desperate underground world he uncovers will stop at nothing. including murder, to keep their secrets safe.
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Johnny Rose is the kind of investigative reporter whose stubborn insistence on doing his own thing has already lost him at least one job at a big paper and threatens his tenuous hold on what may be his last one. When he hears the fear in the voice of his runaway niece Sara, who's never asked for his help before, he knows she's in trouble. But by the time he gets to her, it's too late. She's dead, killed in an arson fire set in an abandoned squat where she's been living with a couple of friends.
It's not long before Johnny makes the connection between Sara's death and the murder of another street kid, a teenage boy who died by drowning before he was dumped in the Hollywood Hills, miles from his usual hangouts. And it's just a jump from there to Gem, Sara's former roommate, who's as scared as Sara was before she died. Johnny couldn't help his niece, but he wants to help Gem, despite the fact that she keeps disappearing on him. Only Kate, a counselor at a shelter for street kids, seems to care enough to go out on a limb for the reporter. Not even Dick Roberts, the charismatic former Olympic champion, whose ministry to runaway kids seems like the logical place to jumpstart Johnny's investigation, is willing to help solve the mystery of the murdered runaways. Long before Johnny figures out the reason for Roberts's strange reluctance, the reader has cottoned to it and nailed the perps responsible for the kids' deaths. Though this is a somewhat pedestrian outing that lags in places and telegraphs its ending, it's clearly based on solid research into the world of street kids and the careless society that spawns them. --Jane AdamsAbout the Author:
Chuck Freadhoff lives with his wife and daughter in Los Angeles. For twenty-five years, he has been a newspaper reporter in the United States and Europe. He is a commentator on "Marketplace," the daily business program on Public Radio International.
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX006019216X
Book Description HarperCollins, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 006019216X