A Nasty Piece of Work by Robert Littell.
Found this in the new section of the South Pasadena Library labeled Mystery.The principal character is Lemuel Gunn with a background from the New Jersey homicide detectives, the CIA and now he is a private dick living in New Mexico.
Page 105, "The middle of nowhere---but only seventy-five minutes out of Los Angeles by automobile" This in reference to Clinch Corners "a few miles from Nipton, California" Since the actual drive time is really 3 hours and twenty minutes for the distance of 226.4 miles the automobile is really going very fast! I find it often in reading that the distance given traveling to a destination is in error and this error is after the author has spent the time to add this added detail in the story line which is wrong.
Page 162, "Swift code numbers insteada bank names" It is always interesting to learn something new and SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunicatio
Page 165, "The Sierra Nevadas in the distance reminded me of the mountain ranges in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border" Since the spelling indicates plural (Nevadas) and there are two, Eastern and Western Sierra Nevada ranges and the description is made close by to the Searchlight Airport I find this puzzling. The Eastern Range and its highest point is Mt. Whitney is no where near Searchlight. The closest range would be Eldorado Mountains for Searchlight and Mt. Whitney is 200 miles to the west an the crow flies.
Page 170, "Punctuation , as they say in the gag trade, is everything." ??? !!!! My best guess is that the "gag trade" is about writing jokes.
Page 185, "one of those endless freight trains passed between us and Nipon. It was so long it needed two locomotives to inch across the surface" I doubt that the author has seen a lot of long freight trains. Two locomotives is pretty standard. One simple engine works well in freight yards moving cars around but when you climb any of the grades going west or east multi-engines of four and six are quite common depending on the length of the train and diesels can be placed at various positions. Trains up to 12,500 feet—a little over two miles long—already are operated in the Los Angeles area and if get stuck at one waiting for a crossing guard you will remember it.
Page 186, "What does Googled mean? " I asked my girl Friday. Gunn is not computer savvy yet on page 204 "you would have thought I'd meandered into a crash course on string theory" It appears strange that Gunn knows nothing about Google but is quite familiar with string theory.
Page 186, "Poland Spring water (which I doubt came all the way from Poland...) If you can read the label on the water bottle you would know where it came from.
Poland Spring is a brand of bottled water manufactured by a subsidiary of Nestlé and sold in the United States in Maine. It was founded in 1845 by Hiram Ricker. Despite the name, the water does not come from the country of Poland but from derived multiple sources in the state of Maine, including Poland Spring and Garden Spring in Poland, Clear Spring in Hollis, Evergreen Spring in Fryeburg, Spruce Spring in Pierce Pond Township, and White Cedar Spring in Dallas Plantation, Bradbury Spring in Kingfield. Recently, the Poland Spring brand has adopted a bottle using 30% less plastic, as did the other Nestlé Waters North America brands.
Page 192, "two very inebriated young pigwidgeons were washing their hair" Had to look that one up : an insignificant or simple person
Page 249, "All of the above knew I was walking back the cat on Gava" Well I didn't know what that actuallymeant so I looked it up. http://www.word-detective.com/2011/05/walk-back-the-cat/
and now I know.