BLACKLIST by Jerry Ludwig


Email this review


Five years after what seemed the definitive humiliation of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the Hollywood blacklist claims new victims.

Everybody calls David Weaver "Teddy’s boy," even now that he’s about to bury his father, a blacklisted screenwriter who fled the country to avoid testifying to the House Un-American Affairs Committee. Returning to Hollywood in 1959 with his father's body, David needs a job, and the only one Teddy's one-time lawyer Harry Rains, now head of production at Panorama Studios, can get him is running errands for Leo Vardian, Teddy’s former writing partner and old friend, as he directs the big-budget feature Against the Wind. The professional experience is priceless, and it’s a great way to renew his friendship with Leo’s daughter Jana, who was David’s girlfriend before Teddy spirited his family off to Mexico. But David still feels allergic to Leo, who testified as a friendly witness and named names to HUAC. The wounds opened by the rift between the two fathers persist in David’s uncomfortable run-ins with two nemeses from the past, FBI agent Brian McKenna and redbaiting columnist Joe Shannon, and you just know the course of true love between David and Jana isn’t about to run smooth. Alternating chapters narrated by David, Jana and the surprisingly sympathetic McKenna, TV writer Ludwig (Getting Garbo, 2004, etc.) begins killing off the supporting characters, throwing suspicion on Teddy’s boy, who can’t even remember what he was doing during the crucial intervals.

An insider’s heartfelt fictionalized account of the toxic legacy of the blacklist, decked out with an untidy mystery, an excruciatingly familiar cast, and dozens of references to real-life Hollywood and D.C. figures. The ideal audience would be readers who’ve never heard of the blacklist and readers who can’t forget it.


Pub Date: June 10th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3539-5
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014


FictionRED SKY LAMENT by Edward Wright
by Edward Wright
NonfictionTENDER COMRADES by Patrick McGilligan
by Patrick McGilligan
NonfictionSHUT UP, HE EXPLAINED by Kate Lardner
by Kate Lardner