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Underneath the Santa Monica Pier

Picture 35 of 101

Excerpt from The Reversal (photo credit: Wendy Werris) Bosch put the phone away and headed toward the pier. The wind was strong off the water and a fine mist of sand stung his face and eyes as he approached the huge structure. The pier was like a beached aircraft carrier. It was long and wide. It had a large parking lot and an assortment of restaurants and souvenir shops on top. At its midpoint it had a full amusement park with a rollercoaster and the signature Ferris wheel. And at its furthest extension into the sea it was a traditional fishing pier with a bait shop, management office and yet another restaurant. All of it supported on a thick forest of wood pilings that started landside and carried 700 feet out beyond the wave break and to the cold depths. Landside, the pilings were enclosed with a wooden siding that created a semi-secure storage facility for the city of Santa Monica. Only semi-secure for two reasons: The storage area was vulnerable to extreme high tides which came on rare occasion during offshore earthquakes. The pier also spanned a hundred yards of beach, which entailed anchoring the wood siding in moist sand. The wood was always in the process of rotting and was easily compromised. The result was that the storage facility had become an unofficial homeless shelter that had to be periodically cleared out by the city.