Books by J.D. Landis

THE TAKING by J.D. Landis
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

"A gothically tempestuous, not undelightful examination of the anxiety of influence."
Self-consciously melodramatic tale of a 17-year-old girl's fateful summer of 1938 in a doomed Greenwich, Massachusetts. Read full book review >
LONGING by J.D. Landis
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"A sometimes provoking meditation on the elusiveness of genius and desire that's also, all too often, no more illuminating than a late-night rerun of Song of Love minus Paul Henreid, Katharine Hepburn, and Robert Walker. (Author tour)"
A retelling of the love story between Robert and Clara Schumann that owes less to The Barretts of Wimpole Street than to Raging Bull.Read full book review >
LYING IN BED by J.D. Landis
Released: May 1, 1995

Pretentious ``psychosexual thriller'' from former longtime editor and publisher (Morrow) and children's writer Landis: a book being promoted as a first novel, though the author has published other adult fiction under pseudonyms. The narrator, Johnny, is a filthy-rich 32-year-old New Yorker who spends most of his time waiting for his wife, Clara, to come home from her job as antique-quilt saleswoman. His only former ambition was to be rhetorician, which may explain his forced use of archaic words and puns (``illaqueated in the lepid net of language,'' etc.). Having failed at his one chosen ambition, he spent a whole year without speaking until he met Clara. Now, as the story opens, she's not yet home, and so we're treated to the narrator's immense erudition on such subjects as Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Bach and Shostakovich. Johnny also tells us that before he met his wife he had had sex only once, and then only for the knowledge of the act. He met Clara after finding her coded diary—which, like any other intellectual challenge, he easily mastered; cracking the code enabled him to track her down. When a Chinese-takeout delivery man, who is also a violin student, brings by food, Johnny lures him in to play his—Johnny's—priceless violin. Wowed, Johnny inexplicably kills the deliveryman, then proceeds to dig up Clara's diaries—from which he'll quote at length. What they show is why she wound up in New York (she ran away from home after discovering that her father was taking secret photographs of her fooling around with boys). They also reveal glimpses of a torrid marital sex life that the reader isn't privy to but that Johnny has also hinted at. Toward the end of the evening, Clara comes home to a welcoming—if hardly steamy—hug, thus ending this misguided effort. Much ado, in sum, about very little, and far more artificial than pulsing. (First printing of 25,000) Read full book review >

Rock dreams come true—in a turgid coming-of-age novel from the author of Daddy's Girl. Judy Valentine, 16, has but one ambition—to be a rock-and-roll drummer. Answering an ad, she meets Strobe, an intense, almost ghostly singer; together they form the nucleus of Wedding Night, soon the hottest band in the country. On tour, Judy catches the cobra-like attention of teen heartthrob Nick Praetorius and becomes an unwilling media celebrity as he courts her publicly. Simultaneously fascinated and repelled, she manages to resist his blandishments: no sex in this story, no drugs—just rock-and-roll. By the close, the band is still together, no one has died (though there's plenty of talk of "death and rebirth"), and Judy's come a little closer to understanding her parents. Unfortunately, however, it's a long, weary way to that point—what with lengthy song lyrics, tedious lists of magazine articles and concert dates, and bombastic conversation ("We have to rock. Rock is life"; "He can't love people who love him"). The story of Wedding Night's foundation and early days makes a strong, though not realistic, beginning (the band lands a record contract after its first Manhattan club date), but readers will bog clown in the detail and will find Nick and Judy's relationship too quirky to matter. Nowhere near the fine standard set by Gillian Cross's Chartbreaker. Read full book review >