by Bruce TierneyOctober, 2003
Countdown to Zero
Not that long ago, paparazza Nina Zero lived a normal life as small-town American girl Mary Alice Baker. She put bread on the table by photographing babies for their doting parents. If any criticism could be leveled at her, it would be that she had dubious taste in men, one of whom cajoled her into carrying a small package to the Los Angeles airport. The package exploded, taking out an entire terminal, and Mary Alice Baker went to jail for her unwitting role in the affair. Fast forward five years: out of the slammer on a shaky parole, she works as a tabloid scandal sheet photographer under the pseudonym Nina Zero. She sits patiently on a Malibu hillside above the home of a reclusive actress, in hope of snapping the $50,000 photo that none of her rivals has been able to get. Then all hell breaks loose: a man with a very large gun beats her senseless, an epic California brushfire greets her awakening, and a large toothless rottweiler emerges from the smoke beside her. The fire department and the police are not far behind, and Nina finds herself in the unsavory position of the parolee, guilty until proven innocent. Burning Garbo is the third book in Robert Eversz' hip series featuring plucky anti-heroine Nina Zero, and in many respects, it's the best. The action is nonstop, the Los Angeles images spot on, and the mood evocative of the noir classics that defined the early great L.A. crime novels.