Friday, June 27, 2014
Review of To Die in Beverly Hills by Gerald Petievich (Arbor House, 1983)
To Die in Beverly Hills charts the battle of wills between a laconic US Treasury Agent and a vain, corrupt cop. Charlie Carr isn’t interested in career progression or conforming to social expectations, he just wants to catch the bad guys. It’s an attitude that has got him regularly shifted between offices and frustrates his long-term girlfriend. Travis Bailey is a sociopath and social climber who lives beyond his means, uses his job to spot potential targets for his crew of burglars and fences, and treats women as sex objects. Petievich provides an in-depth characterisation of both men as they circle round each other, the former looking to bring the latter to justice. They are each surrounded by a band of engaging secondary characters who are each flawed in some way. Beverly Hills provides an interesting back drop and the plot nicely unfolds as Carr slowly unpicks Bailey’s scheming, scams and crimes, but the key strength of the book is the characterization. Overall, an engaging read about a cop who’ll go to any lengths to protect his position and another whose prepared to match and catch him.