Wednesday, September 27, 2017

#BookReview: TO FUNK AND DIE IN LA by Nelson George

Summary: To Funk and Die in LA, the fourth book in the D Hunter crime-fiction series, brings the ex-bodyguard to the City of Angels on a very dark mission when his grandfather, businessman Daniel "Big Danny" Hunter, is shot dead in a drive-by. Why would someone execute a grocery store owner? D soon finds there was more to Big Danny's life than selling loaves of bread. The old man, it turns out, was deeply involved with Dr. Funk, a legendary musical innovator who has become a mysterious recluse.

Most of the novel takes place in the LA neighborhoods of Crenshaw, Koreatown, and Pico-Union--areas where black, Asian, and Latino cultures intersect away from the glamour of Hollywood--and echoes of the 1992 riots play a significant role in D's investigation. In the tradition of Raymond Chandler and Walter Mosley, D Hunter rides through the mean streets of Los Angeles seeking truth and not always finding justice.

Review: I haven't read the previous books in the D Hunter series, but Nelson George gives enough background story for readers to understand who the main players are and what pushes their buttons. While I wasn't overly impressed by the main character, I did like the mission he was on and the cast that surrounded him. Digging into his recently deceased grandfather's background brings out people from all walks of life and it's interesting to watch D put the pieces together to see how they fit.

I couldn't help but to be reminded of the elusive Sly Stone in the form of Dr. Funk. Much like Stone, he prefers to stay hidden from the public, wrapped up in his music and his memories. The scenes featuring him and his story line tend to be the most memorable.

D Hunter is no Easy Rawlins or Socrates Fortlaw, but Nelson George is no Walter Mosley. In this instance, he doesn't have to be. As Mosley recreated a 1950s and 1960s Los Angeles for readers, George presents us with a modern day LA that I'm definitely interested in exploring more.

225 p.
Published: September 2017
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are mine.

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