By Gillian Flynn
Updated February 24, 2006 05:00 AM
Advertisement

T. Jefferson Parker delves into San Diego politics in a mystery that involves background checks, a call-girl service, and a murdered city ethics investigator. The case lands with Robbie Brownlaw, whose miraculous survival after being thrown from a hotel window has left him with unwanted celebrity — and synesthesia, a condition in which he sees people’s emotions as shapes and colors. Basically, the guy is impossible to lie to, a nifty device that Parker thankfully avoids belaboring. While Brownlaw is nowhere near the classic California noir protagonist — he’s actually almost too nice — The Fallen is a brainy, seriously entertaining piece of Golden State detective fiction.