Another ride
on the roller coaster
of Nina Zero's life

''Zero to the Bone''
By Robert Eversz
(Simon & Schuster, 271 pps., $24)
Buy at Amazon

Reviewed by John Orr
April 2006

The irony of Robert Eversz' Nina Zero series is that Zero, a parolee turned Hollywood paparazzi and amateur detective, is that she is a completely good and likable person, but Eversz seems to just hate her.

Otherwise, why would he give her such a tortured life?

Well, probably to make a few points about how tough life can be for parolees, and to paint a pretty realistic picture of life on the dirty streets of L.A.

In this one, Eversz gives Zero a happy start, with the opening of her first gallery showing. A series of recreations of old Hollywood pulp scenes. But her model doesn't show, which is the first mystery. Then Zero is given an anonymous package containing a video that shows a rape and strangulation. A video starring, it seems, the missing model.

Zero is immediately on the hunt for clues and it's another good read from Eversz that includes a hot romance between Zero and an L.A. cop who would be in a lot of trouble if anybody knew he was sleeping with a parolee. Zero, who has had a very grim and lonely life (thanks to Eversz!) for a while gets to deal with the mysteries of someone actually, apparently, falling in love with her.

Zero eventually solves the mystery, of course, but Eversz leaves her in such a grim situation that it will be educational to see if he can even pull her out of it to continue the series.