"L.A. Rex is a stunning debut. A gritty tale dripping with truth—it could only have come from a writer who has lived the life."—Michael Connelly
"L.A. Rex is to the twenty-first century noir thriller what Apocalypse Now was to the twentieth-century war movies: vivid, powerful, imaginative, unique."—Joseph Wambaugh
"A brutal and dynamic novel about patrolling the City of Angels in the post-Rodney King era. L.A. Rex reads like a combination of Joseph Wambaugh and Tom Wolfe."—The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Has the crackle and spark of what one could easily imagine was life on the streets in 1998 Los Angeles, a city still on edge after the Rodney King riots...Beall excels at painting a slang-rich world of cops and criminals."—Los Angeles Times
"A kind of crime fighter's bildungsroman...It's hard to imagine a better training ground for crime writing than police work."—The New York Times Book Review
"Will Beall is as tough as they come, and L.A. Rex is really good in all the right ways. It is intelligent, powerfully written, and pulses with raw authenticity."—Robert B. Parker
Beall's hard-edged debut explores the familiar territory of drugs and corruption on the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles. In scenes that alternate between the past and the present, rookie police officer Ben Halloran, who's partnered with tough veteran Miguel Marquez, struggles to conceal his secret affiliation with a ganglord, even as the pair probe a series of murders. Beall, himself an officer in the LAPD's 77th Division, writes what he knows, but loads of pointless, gory violence (including gougings and mutilations), some awkward prose ("The party was Carcosa's schizophrenic attempt to reconcile his criminal origins with the propriety of a Mexican tradition"), improbable plot elements (thugs who quote Macbeth) and a lack of redeeming characters limit this one's appeal. Author tour. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Beall, a Los Angeles police officer, has written a fairly interesting debut crime novel that mixes sequences of past and present to tell its story. Ben Halloran is a new LAPD cop with a complicated, unsavory history that threatens to catch up with him. When he is paired with principled veteran Miguel Marquez, the two are drawn into the violent and dishonest world of gangsta rap. Through the effective use of back stories, Beall reveals his characters' motivations. There are some graphically violent scenes, but they serve to enhance what is already a gritty tale. The story itself isn't overly compelling, but Ben is likable enough, and events come together nicely. A good purchase for medium or large crime fiction collections in public libraries.-Craig Shufelt, Fort McMurray P.L., Alta. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
By an L.A. cop about L.A. cops, a debut novel that could use a warning label: Strong Stomach Mandatory. The sign in the 77th Precinct (South Central L.A.) reads "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here," and as young Ben Halloran takes his seat with the other "pimply probationers" (recent Police Academy grads), he acknowledges to himself that he's rattled. It's a condition that intensifies when he learns he's partnered with living legend Miguel Marquez, an officer to whom hard was a way station en route to impervious. But to the surprise of both, they bond, discovering in each other a kinship of character that sets them apart from most of their brothers. Ben does have his secrets, however. His name isn't really Halloran, for one thing-it's Kahn; and he's the only son of the most flamboyant, most successful, least popular defense lawyer in the city-ask any of the cops he's sweated during the course of a long and largely unprincipled career. Ben doesn't much like his father, which is one reason he's chosen to go incognito; another has to do with his tangled relationships in the world of gangbangers and gangsta-rappers-that dangerous, ultra-violent world where "applied treachery" is a self-taught survival skill. Ben has roots in it, old loyalties that both protect and ensnare, and that he struggles to be free of. In the meantime, not unlike knights-errant, Ben and Marquez sortie out from the 77th, daily, contending with dragons and ogres-druggies and stone killers-until at last Ben earns Marquez's ultimate accolade: "You're a cop now, Ben. . . . And I think, maybe, that's a little like being a Catholic, you can't get shorn of it."Murder, torture, dismemberment in gratuitous profusion: Beall,still a working cop, is also a talented writer, but this is ugly stuff. Film rights to Scott Rudin Productions