Some books just have movie written all over them, and Will Beall's L.A. Rex is one of them. This gripping debut novel revolves around young Ben Halloran, a rookie cop with a hidden past, assigned to the 77th Division, home of L.A.'s roughest neighborhoods (and toughest gangs). Halloran is partnered with Miguel Marquez, a Daryl Gates-era cop from the bad old days who often (and unapologetically) lets the end justify the means. Cutting back and forth between the 1970s and the present, Beall spins a riveting tale of the L.A. streets and the hard cases (both criminal and cop) who inhabit them. One of the major players is a larger-than-life character named Darius, once a street thug, now the head of a multimillion-dollar rap label. Darius hasn't strayed too far from his roots, however, and is a key POI (person of interest) in a homicide investigation with overtones of the real-life murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.
G. It is the task of Marquez and Halloran to find justice for the dead problem is, the dead keep piling up faster than the cops can log them in case books. The pace is breathtaking, the dialogue snappy and street-savvy. Beall brings an insider's sense of authenticity to the book, as he serves as a police officer in the aforementioned 77th Division (although he is currently working on both a screenplay for L.A. Rex and a second novel, tentatively titled The Lion Hunters).