Simeon Grist is a private eye and Los Angeles is his city, and in the mid-nineties it's a city of lost children. Against his better judgment – this is heartbreak territory -- Grist is on a new case, one that leads him down the streets of LA and into the dead, dark places of a killer's heart.
Missing is a thirteen-year-old from Kansas, Aimee Sorrell, a/k/a Dorothy Gale, who didn't find Oz over this rainbow. In fact, from the Polaroids her mother got in the mail, Aimee found nothing less than hell. The not-so-pretty pictures convince Grist to take the Sorrell case, hoping against hope for a happy ending. But the trail soon leads him to the city morgue, and the first of a string of victims. The trail leads Simeon – and his willful god-daughter, Jessica – on a perilous journey to find out what happens to America's lost children when they go looking for love in all the wrong places.
Squeal combines high-octane action, baroque violence, humor, and pathos in a self-assured manner that marks Mr. Hallinan as a capable practitioner of the private eye tale. (Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal)
. . . a grimly authentic portrait of L.A.'s sordid subculture. (Robert Wade, The San Diego Union)
. . . a chilling portrait of what life holds for kids who lose their innocence too soon, and we couldn't have gotten through it if the author weren't so damned talented. (Tom and Enid Schantz, The Purloined Letter)
There are two ways to explore the Hollywood underground: Drive over the hill and spend a few dangerous days walking Hollywood Boulevard, or read Everything But the Squeal, the second Simeon Grist novel by Timothy Hallinan. . . Grist bears watching: He may turn out to be a modern successor to Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe. (Kate Seago, Los Angeles Daily News)
Simeon Grist made his debut in The Four Last Things, and it was a smashing debut, as I reported in this space last August. There is apparently no sophomore jinx in the private eye trade, because Everything But the Squeal is even better than the first one. (Dick Kleiner, The Desert Sun)
Get a copy of Everything But the Squeal, but be prepared to shut off the phone or fax machine; you won't want to brook any interruptions once you start it. (Tom Hatten, KNX Radio, Los Angeles)
Everything But the Squeal is a riveting page-turner . . . the Simeon Grist books are something special. (Jim Huang, The Drood Review)
. . . exciting and original . . . above all, a story with moral as well as mortal consequences. . . . They say that the second book in a suspense series is always the hardest to pull off, because a writer tends to use up all of his or her tricks bringing the characters to life. Hallinan, who seems to have a natural supply of imagination, is a remarkable exception. (Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune)