Earthquake Weather: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Jun 28 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Filmmaker Lankford serves up an insider's view of Hollywood in this entertaining crime drama about a producer wannabe who gets ensnarled in a murder plot. Mark Hayes has been kicking around the movie industry for more than 15 years with little to show for it. Now in his mid-30s-old for Hollywood-he toils as a creative executive, fancy talk for a "development boy, as we were called by the disrespectful," screening scripts for his hateful boss, Dexter Morton. Although he's had one huge hit, Morton is despised throughout the industry for his two-faced dealings. When he's found floating face down in his swimming pool-his "giant, hairy tarantula" of toupee clogging the filter-nobody really mourns except his now out-of-work employees. As the police drag through their investigation, Hayes decides to launch his own probe, partly out of boredom and partly because he finds himself near the top of the cops' suspect list: after all, Morton had stolen his girl and Hayes found the body. But there's no shortage of suspects; Morton left a trail of bitter screenwriters, producers and even creative executives. Lankford (Angry Moon) shows lively wit and characterizations, and he shines in skewering the practices and personalities of the film industry. Though the story falters when Lankford leaves the entertainment world and steers the action down a more predictable path of drugs and violence, this is a fast, fun read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In a neat twist on the ending of Nathanael West's Day of the Locust, veteran filmmaker Lankford starts his Hollywood noir with a taste of Armageddon--not West's surreal fire next time but the all-too-real L.A. earthquake of 1994. Suffering from post-quake shell shock, Mark Hayes, D-Boy (or script reader) for schlocky producer Dexter Morton, finds his career in tatters, just like his quake-damaged apartment in the Valley. Then he finds a body floating in Dexter's pool and becomes a murder suspect. Along with a motley crew of similarly dysfunctional cronies, including a washed-up writer who spouts cliches about "killing creativity for a paycheck," Mark slouches toward Armageddon or a jail cell, whichever comes first. Lankford nails the updated noir mood, and he fills the tale with juicy insider stuff about the "industry" (like the fact that nobody says the "industry" anymore). It all seems a little like old news, but that's the thing about burned-out Hollywood. West's ashes have been smoldering a long time, and Lankford does his best to fan the flames. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Much of Hollywood detests Mark's boss producer Dexter Morton, who enjoys their hatred and flaunts it by inviting those who find him an abomination to parties he host because they always come. The morning after Dexter's latest bashing bash, Mark finds his boss dead in the swimming pool. The police feel Mark is the leading suspect though Charity James, the former girlfriend of Mark's studio peer is also high on the casting list. Mark and Charity begin seeking the truth from a clichéd Hollywood B movie with too many subplots to make it on the screen, but this is real life and a happy ending is not necessarily in the script.
Using the 1994 earthquake to set the stage, Terrill Lee Lankford provides an insider amateur sleuth novel with a pinch of a police procedural tale. The story line uses real events in the background; yet the prime thread is low key as Dexter's struggles with his boss (dead and alive) and his lack of success. This is similar to Jackie Collins' delightful Hollywood novels, but with an emphasis on the likeable with no empathy antihero's feeling sorry for himself woes as he faces middle age with nothing but police trouble on his filmography.
I read that, stopped, read it again. And laughed. Lankford's humor sneaks up on you like that in a finely wrought story of frustrated ambition that seems quintessentially American.
The PW et al. reviews tell enough of the story, but they don't truly communicate how authentic this feels, how deeply revelatory it is of the machinations film people not only take for granted, but assume are life itself.
BTW, there is absolutely nothing about this book that makes it remotely like Jackie Collins as another reviewer believes, because Lankford knows how to write.