Sunday, January 09, 2005

Outta here / Peter Moore Smith's "Los Angeles"

Alright, this is my last post as blog-sitter. I'd like to thank Jeff for letting hang around the place. (I hope I didn't drive away too many of your readers, man.) Up next is Commander (No, really!) Iain Rowan, writer of fantastic (in every sense of the word) short stories and finder of much weirdness. I'm sure he'll keep us all entertained.

Before I go, I'd like to talk a little bit about Peter Moore Smith's new novel, "Los Angeles".

Ahem... Peter Moore Smith's second novel, "Los Angeles", published this month by Little, Brown, and Company, is a twisting, turning piece of neon-lit noir. Set in the titular city (where else?) the character follows a character named Angel Veroncheck as he mounts a desperate search for his neighbour and kinda, sorta, girlfriend Angela (no last name.)

The back-story is more than a little complicated. Angel, the son of a Hollywood mega-producer and faded actress is an albino, prone to debilitating migraines when exposed to bright light, especially bright sunlight. As one might imagine this makes life in Los Angeles, by day at least, somewhat difficult.

On top of this Angels has other issues; he is what some people might call "fragile" with a medicine cabinet full of tranquilizers, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and stimulants. He spends most of his time in a tiny apartment with the shades drawn working on a seemingly endless screenplay, his only company a DVD of Ridley Scott's adaptation of "Blade Runner" set to constant repeat - he keeps the sound off as he has memorized every line of dialogue in the film.

He meets Angela, and things start to look up. Then Angela disappears.

Smith pulls off the story with considerable style and restraint. His writing is very much of the "damaged characters in extraordinary situations" school (trust me, *everyone* in this novel is carrying some kind of damage) but he never lets things get too far out. He builds tension and sets an appropriately paranoid tone but keeping things just this side of plausible.

More importantly, he has created an engaging set of characters. The reader wants to stick with these people, we want to know what happens, and it keeps us turning pages.

That's not to say that there aren't problems. Light, the concept of light, and the physical manifestation of light plays a very large part in the novel. At times Smith rides the light metaphor a bit too heavily - yes, Angel is an albino, yes he is obsessed with light, we get it.

Also, and this isn't a problem unique to Smith, but something that seems to afflict all writers, no matter what their preferred genre: There is a band in the book. The band's name is "ImmanuelKantLern." This is awful. I realize that about ninety-nine percent of band names are absolutely ridiculous, but really, ImmanuelKantLern?

Another, more serious problem, is the first section of the multi-staged ending - some readers will find it entirely appropriate, others (myself included) will groan.

All that aside, there's a lot to like. Smith has crafted and intense and very enjoyable novel that should grab readers both in genre and at the more adventurous end of the mainstream.

5 Comments:

At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think THAT's good (I was actually a bit disappointed by it), you should read Smith's debut novel, Raveling, one of my favorite books of the last few years. It's an intense, suspensful example of a "literary mystery." Unfortunately, the new one strikes me as an example of "sophomore slump."

 
At 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus. What a bunch of pseudo-intellectual "book nerds." Attempting to dissect every last crevice of a great book.

I bet you have read 7 pages of 'Ulysses' and praise it to the fucking moon.

Annoying.

Great book.

 
At 3:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found that book incredibly depressing! Maybe not such an objective opinion on my part but it was real slit your wrists material.

However, I did finish it. Which says something..I guess.

 
At 7:57 PM, Blogger uiyui said...

Catch the wow gold star that holds your gold in wow destiny,cheap wow gold the one that forever maplestory money twinkles within your heart. Take advantage of precious opportunities while they still sparkle before you. Always believe that your buy maplestory mesos ultimate goal is attainable cheap mesos as long as you commit yourself to it.maple money Though barriers may sometimes stand in the way of your dreams, remember that your destiny is hiding behind them.wow gold kaufen Accept the fact that not everyone is going to approve of the choices Maple Story Accounts you've made. Have faith in your judgment.wow gold farmen Catch the star that maple story money twinkles in your heart and it will lead you to your destiny's path. Follow that pathway and uncover the sweet sunrises that await you. Take pride in your accomplishments, as they are stepping stones to your dreams. Understand that you may make mistakes, powerlevelbut don't let them discourage you.ms mesos Value your capabilities and talents for they are what make you truly unique. The greatest gifts in life are not purchased, but acquired through hard work and determination.maplestory mesos Find the star that twinkles in your heart?for you alone maplestory powerleveling are capable of making your brightest dreams come true. Give your hopes everything you've got and you will catch the star that holds your destiny.

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger برامج said...

i know this book i read about it many places it is a great book thanks Jeff
الاندرويد

 

Post a Comment

<< Home