Retired Sacramento parole officer Daniel Hallford’s first novel is a compelling, if unrelentingly grim, story of the Big Tomato’s gritty criminal underside. Parolee Jimmy Kendall, trying to escape his past in the Aryan Brotherhood, doesn’t once consider going straight; instead, he, his girlfriend and some childhood pals make a series of bad decisions that have equally bad consequences. From lobbyists to thugs, no one comes off well. It’s violent, messy and not politically correct. Hallford’s tightlipped noir style works for the most part, but some sections take on a fragmentary quality. This novel isn’t for optimists or delicate sensibilities, but if you don’t mind having some of your favorite local landmarks used as sites for violent acts, it is a fast-paced, action-packed read.