I write novels set in California, some of them during the early years of the 20th century. So I read lots of books about that period. One of the best is Richard Rayner’s A Bright and Guilty Place.
Rayner tells the life stories of an investigator and a lawyer, both employed by the District Attorney’s office. One of them is heroic, one deeply flawed. Through their exploits and antics, Mr. Rayner exposes L.A.’s rampant and systemic corruption, the endemic collusion between government, law enforcement, and capitalists of all sorts including crime bosses.
What’s more, if we stop to think, we may realize how universal is this social structure, which is rigged so that a select and avaricious few wallow in privilege and abundance while the rest serve as pawns and star-struck voyeurs.
At that point, some of us might pause and go for a drink, or mumble, “Damn, I don’t think anything’s changed.”
A Bright and Guilty Place should be required reading for all who vote. It’s that enlightening, as well as being a compelling story.