EARTHQUAKE WEATHER by Terrill Lee Lankford was recommended by Ed Gorman for Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books project. It looked interesting, so I bought a copy.

Lankford has worked in Hollywood and knows the territory well. That shines through in this tale of murder. We’ve all heard the stories of the “suits” that really run the movie industry. We get a look at how things operate in the land of make believe.

The book starts off with a bang as a major earthquake rocks Los Angeles in the early nineties. Belt tightening had already been going on and the quake just makes things worse.

Mark Hayes had worked in the industry for fifteen years, trying to keep a foot in the door, wanting to be a producer, to make “real” movies. Not like the crap that his boss, Dexter Morton, cranks out for the fast buck. Morton is a real SOB who will step on creativity as long as there’s a dollar in it. Hayes justifies it all by saving every penny until that day he is able to strike out on his own and make those real pictures.

Morton throws a huge party at his mansion, inviting everybody he’s ever screwed on his way to the top just so he can gloat. The next morning he’s found dead by Hayes, floating facedown in his pool. While every guest there at the party could be considered a suspect with motive, the police seem to be centering on Hayes.

All of a sudden, he’s amateurishly trying to find the real killer, save his dead boss’ ex-girl friend from her own drug usage, and close up the studio’s offices for the estate lawyers, putting himself out of a job, all at the same time.

Lankford’s writing is smooth, invitng, never a misstep. I was hooked right from the beginning.