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Paul D. Marks
P.I. Duke Rogers finds himself in a racially charged situation. The case might have to wait.... The immediate problem: getting out of South Central Los Angeles in one piece – during the 1992 "Rodney King" riots – and that's just the beginning of his problems.
WHITE HEAT won the 2013 SHAMUS Award for Best Indie P.I. Novel.
Private investigator Duke Rogers finds an old "friend" for a client. The client's "friend," an up and coming African-American actress, ends up dead. Duke knows his client did it. Now, feeling guilty, he wants to find the client/killer. He starts his mission by going to the dead actress' family in South Central L.A. -- and while there the Rodney King riots ignite.
And while he tries to track down the killer he must also deal with the racism of his partner, Jack, and from the dead woman's brother, Warren. He must also confront his own possible latent racism - even as he's in an interracial relationship with the murder victim's dead woman's sister.
Some of the language in the novel may be offensive. But please consider it in the context of the time, place and characters.
"This place [Los Angeles] was a lot friendlier and a lot nicer when I came here 26 years ago. There are still pockets of civility here, but they are rapidly disappearing as neighborhoods and ethnic groups get more and more polarized, and as the city gets more and more crowded. I think the violence and the ruthlessness is going to increase..."
(musician and former
Eagles band leader)
April is the cruelest month.
from The Waste Land
My father always said I was a fuckup, that the only reason we get along is 'cause he keeps his mouth shut. Maybe he's right:
I fucked up high school.
Fucked up college.
Fucked up my marriage.
Fucked up my life by leaving the service.
And now I've fucked up a case.
Fucked it up real bad.
Teddie Matson was different. She had a golden life, until her path had the misfortune of crossing mine. I sat staring out the window of my office, k.d. lang playing in the background. It was a while till the sun would set, that golden hour when everything takes on a gilded glow.
Golden hour is the time when the light hits just right in the early morning or late afternoon. The time when movie cinematographers most like to shoot. The light is tawny and warm. Gentle. It makes the stars shine brighter.
Golden hour is the time when Teddie Matson was killed.
Hang on tight for a white knuckle read!
This review is from: White Heat (Paperback)
Paul D. Marks' debut novel "White Heat" couldn't be better titled, since it burns like a phosphorous bomb, illuminating the mean streets of Los Angeles at a time when they were at their meanest, rawest and most incendiary: during the 1992 riots that tore the city apart after the Rodney King beating verdict. Those of us who lived through that time remember the wounds all too well, and, like the characters in this staggeringly-assured first novel, remain conflicted as to who should actually be blamed for inflicting them. What may be even more remarkable than Marks' evocation of one of LA's most challenging moments is his creation of that rarest of avises, a wholly original P.I. protagonist, in the form of Marion "Duke" Rogers, a former Navy SEAL who struggles to maintain his honor despite a near-crippling guilt complex. If that weren't enough, the author manages to propel his flawed hero into his dangerous, duty-bound quest through one of the most ingenious motives I can remember reading. "White Heat" is a tough, tersely-written book featuring tough, complicated, and not always lovable characters who might push many readers to the very edge of their comfort zone. But it's honest and it's real, and doesn't it doesn't pander to its audience by providing pat or phony answers to the many complex issues it raises. Marks, having already mastered the short story format, proves here that he can shoot with the best of the big guns in the long form. What's the old cliché..."Don't start what you can't finish"? Well, that's good advice to the reader, who should be warned that once you start reading this searing, driving novel, you will be compelled to finish it in one long, satisfying gulp.
Fraught With Detail and Emotion
By True Crime Author ~ RJ Parker
WHITE HEAT BY AUTHOR PAUL D. MARKS is in a word, 'Intense'. This is a well-written book that's gripping, captivating and brings back memories of a bad time in L.A.
The setting starts with the day the verdict was announced in the beating of Rodney King in April 1992, and the subsequent days after.
Ex-Navy SEAL turned Private-Eye Duke Rogers, is in his office when a man comes in and asks Duke to find a missing person for him. Duke knows it's an easy $250 and a phone call to trace the woman. He didn't know that he would be writing the death sentence for her. The next day, he finds out that the young woman/actress was shot to death. With the guilt eating at him, Duke sets out to find his client/killer. Getting around L.A. isn't easy when half the city is burning, and riots galore. Over the next several days, he searches for who he now calls the 'Weasel', and has to fight off gangs and racial enemies.
This book is packed with action, suspense, a dab of humor at times, and basically all the ingredients needed for a great read. I highly recommend it and look forward to the next installment of Duke Rogers.
Review | White Heat, by Paul D. Marks
by Elizabeth Barone / ElizabethBarone.net
Private investigator Marion “Duke” Rogers can’t get anything right. Most days he wishes he’d just stayed in the SEALs. When a seedy client comes in asking Duke to find Teddie Matson, he thinks nothing of it — it’s just quick and easy money… until Teddie is murdered, and Duke is left wondering whether it’s his fault.
White Heat sucked me in right away with its noir style. You get to know Duke right away, and even though he’s a self-professed fuckup, I liked him instantly. Part of me wondered the entire time whether he killed Teddie Matson himself without remembering it, but I still liked him. Duke’s voice is very strong in the narration. Usually, I hate slang and dialect in prose because it frequently overpowers the story, but Duke’s way of talking made this story.
The plot was interesting, and full of twists and turns. Duke’s investigation felt realistic, even when he was chasing down people like a cop. The characters’ interactions, mannerisms, and dialogue also felt realistic. I fell in love with Duke, Jack, and Rita. I also loved Teddie, even though we never met her alive.
My only complaint about this novel was its lack of dialogue tags. For the most part, I could tell who was speaking on their way of talking alone, but sometimes it got quite confusing and interrupted the flow of the story; I kept having to go back and reread those long strings of dialogue to determine who said what.
White Heat is set during the days of the Rodney King riots. I liked that it had a strong historical element that heavily impacted how the characters acted toward each other, as well as impeding the investigation at times because of the involved characters’ innate prejudices. The novel explored cultural bias based on skin color, and did an excellent job depicting different cultures’ attitudes toward each other.
I can’t say whether it properly captured LA, as I’ve never lived there, but I trust Marks’s judgment, as he’s lived there his entire life. I did, however, like that the setting shifted between California and Nevada, giving readers a taste of what lay beyond Duke’s hometown.
The scenes between Duke and Rita were steamy, without really being overly descriptive. Marks has a knack for language and description. It was a refreshing change from novelists who try to make sex scenes so sexy that it reads like erotica.
I had a lot of fun with White Heat. It was riveting, sexy, and provocative. The best part of this novel? There’s a sequel (due out in November 2012).
White Heat is now available on Amazon and Smashwords in all digital formats, and in paperback. Read an excerpt, and check out the novel’s official blog.
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