So then, let's return to an old master, Ross Thomas. I've recently reread a few of his, including Chinaman's Chance.
Opening paragraph: "The pretender to the Emperor’s Throne was a fat thirty-seven-year-old Chinaman called Artie Wu who always jogged along Malibu Beach right after dawn even in summer, when dawn came round as early as 4:42. It was while jogging along the beach just east of the Paradise Cove pier that he tripped over a dead pelican, fell, and met the man with six greyhounds. It was the sixteenth of June, a Thursday."
Chinaman's Chance is a tale of political corruption, with criminals and conmen in a crazy dance of smoke and mirrors. It's one of the four Thomas books featuring Artie Wu and Quincy Durant, two of Thomas's most endearing characters. As ever, we get a fast, stylish thriller with more than one twist. There's a missing singing star, a dead Congressman, a city run by crooks, a nympho film star, a billionaire (with six greyhounds), a dapper Mafiosi and a goodly bunch of lowlives. Character, weaknesses and foibles are ably limned by the author in economical fashion and the plot(s) thicken most satisfactorily.
Applying the "would my mother read it?" test, yes she would, and the vicar as well. The violence is understated, the sex (rarish for Thomas) is not graphic and the prose is elegant as we expect. Grab a copy and enjoy.