The Kind One Paperback – Apr 7 2009
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"Tense, emotional, and unforgiving.... A beautifully written take on the dark Hollywood of the '30s -- a perfect noir novel that is pure and original, with a heavy heart that beats through each page." -- Robert Crais
"On every page, the language is crisp and fresh, the details sharp and keenly observed, the dialogue real, never forced." -- Los Angeles Times
"Epperson manages to throw in an occasional turn of phrase that Raymond Chandler might have penned....An impressive debut." -- Publishers Weekly
"What's memorable about Epperson's take on the '30s is its balance of brutality and optimism. He portrays Los Angeles as the last outpost of the Wild West...but he's even more adept at portraying the eternal hopefulness of a more innocent America." -- San Francisco Chronicle
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I lost the bet -- big time! But in this case, losing meant winning -- I gained a thrilling read. To label this book a gangster novel does not do it justice. It is really a first-rate character novel about an interesting, likable fellow, two-gun Danny, who just happens to be thrust into the world of gangsters. How he got there is precisely the issue -- and one he keeps asking himself since he has lost his memory of his past life. He does not seem to fit into the thuggish world of his truly frightening boss. As he struggles to figure out his past, he meets several other misfits, both in and outside of the gangster world. For me, the most interesting set of characters were those he met in his Hollywood apartment complex, each of which is sharply drawn and wonderfully memorable. Epperson deftly weaves all of their lives together in surprising twists as this psychological thriller unfolds, with their lives converging at the end. By the time I approached that end, I found myself reading more slowly to draw out the pleasure of remaining with the characters. As I closed the book cover, I wondered: is this really a gangster novel if Epperson's artful, psychological portraits made me forget his characters were largely in a gangster world?
It isn't a private eye with a Philip Marlowe to lead an investigation but we do have the Los Angeles and Southern California setting and we have Chandler's wonderful storytelling and dialogue.
It's the 1930's and Danny Landon works for mobster Bud Seitz.
Danny, aka Two Gun Danny has amnesia from being hit on the head with a lead pipe and goes through the story trying to find out who he really is.
Bud asks Danny to act as bodyguard for his mistress, Darla. When the story opens, Bud's chimp, Doc, bites Darla and Danny has to put it down.
This is almost too reminiscent of the recent champanze attack on the woman in Stamford,Ct.
This descriptive novel wastes no time with unnecessary facts. It is plot driven with intensive dialogue and little character development.
After a slow start we see Danny and Darla interacting with each other and Darla showing her discomfort with being Bud's mistress and his autocratic approach to their relationship.
The reader is made to wonder what will happen as Danny and Darla fall in love. Will they meet the fate of Bud's last girlfriend and the employee who made a poor choice and inappropately touched her and paid the ultimate price.
Life is cheap in the 1930's surrounding Bud Seitz who doesn't hesitate to kill anyone who displeases him, be it a stranger or one of his employees.
While this is happening, Danny is trying to help his 11 year old neighbor Sophie who is being abused.
The plot twists and turns are interesting and we find that there is a relationship between Danny and Bud Seitz, more than just employer-employee.
The novel culminates with Danny wanting to take Darla away from Bud and Sophie away from her alcoholic mother who intends to send her to a reform school.
Very nicely done and I look forward to the filmed version that is due to be released in 2010.