The 13 Best Books to Pick Up This January
At first glance, these lost souls in the City of Angels seem as disconnected from one another as the Mojave from the Pacific. There's Ren, who, just released from juvenile detention, has arrived by cross-country bus to search for his mother and a new start. He lives in a tent downtown, while Tony travels back and forth from his cushy Hollywood job to his equally cushy Beverlywood home but can't fight off a festering malaise. After a life-changing accident, Britt flees the scene of the crime and becomes an "intern" at a chicken farm/cult led by a charismatic father figure; in the same desert, the drug-dealing Blake is in thrall to his own strongman, a superstitious killer whose freewheeling acts of violence will ultimately bind all the characters together.
In the end, the California lure of fresh beginnings delivers—if not in stardom or panned gold, in the kind of reinvention and human connections still to be found on the trail west.