Well, he's tried Stephen King. What about Raymond Chandler? Lunar Park I didn't like much, but this is a lot better. How much, I'm still not sure.
Like Chandler it's set in LA and nobody knows what's going on. People are followed, other people go missing. The narrator is repeatedly told he's not seeing "the big picture." It's a murder mystery where the murder happens at the end and the identity of the killer isn't a mystery.
Luckily we have our hero Clay on the case (as well as many of the Less than Zero cast.) Not exactly a knight in tarnished armor, Clay. As mean as the streets, in fact. Detached to the point of autism, manipulative, sadistic, capable of horrible things and unexpectedly needy. His character is one of the most succesful aspects of the book.
So...the nasty bits. Well, it's really all contained in a sequence towards the end which is connected to the rest of the story only obliquely. It's certainly very disturbing, and it works character-wise. But a hater (not me, clearly) would wonder if it's been shoehorned in for the fanboys. I remember reading an interview where Ellis said he had to get wrecked for days at a time to write the infamous bits of American Psycho. How hard is it for him these days?
I've had a bit of a rocky relationship with this book. It took me a couple of goes to get into, then I was hooked - Ellis back to his best. Then I'm thinking - actually this is just the same as his early stuff - what's the point? I was disappointed when I finished this a couple of days back, and I'm liking it the more I think about it.
Here are the weak points - it's too short. It's not funny, like Psycho or Glamorama. I didn't understand the ending and had to look up wikipedia (I think this was me being stupid, rather than a clever chandler-esque end to the novel.)
But the big plus point - this is proper Bret Easton Ellis.
What I'll need to do is re-read Less Than Zero, then this again. And maybe Glamorama again. Maybe by then I'll be up for American Psycho again, though I've read it to death (ho!) Then, perhaps, a revisiting of Lunar Park whereupon I'll realise it's a misunderstood modern classic.