Los Angeles would seem to offer fertile ground for Larry McMurtry's acerbic wit and love of eccentrics and cranks, and his latest novel Loop Group offers plenty of the latter. The relatively grounded Maggie is boss to a hodgepodge of neurotic voice-over artists and mother to three overbearing daughters. Strung out on family/work drama and turning 60, Maggie asks best friend Connie to join her on a road trip to Texas, where belabored wackiness ensues. God bless the author for centering a book on two postmenopausal (and still sexual) women. But the entire venture feels forced and a little musty (the L.A. here is strictly 20th century). You need to fall in love with characters this loopy, but McMurtry's group falls short on charm.