THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN MOVING PICTURE ASSOCIATION

31286676.399 Estleman, Loren D. THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN MOVING PICTURE ASSOCIATION Estleman has switched fictional settings before from Prohibition Detroit (Whiskey River, 1990, etc.) to the Hollywood of early silents, as in Billy Gashade (1997). His latest, set largely in 1913, is something of a sequel to Billy. Burgeoning but unpublished young writer Dmitri Andreivitch Pulski, who admires Jack London and writes under the pen name Tom Boston, has garnered 172 rejections and, waiting for his ship to come in, works for his father, who owns the Sierra Nevada Ice Company. One day after he’s just helped cut up eight tons of ice from a frozen lake, a request comes in from a Hollywood studio for ten tons of same. His father sends Tom/Dmitri down to Hollywood to check on the deal. Tom’s romantic interest is exotic blossom Adele Varga, the secretary/leading lady for director Buck Bensinger, whose Rocky Mountain Moving Picture Association is shooting The Trail of “98, the Alaskan gold rush tale that made all that ice necessary. When Tom says he’s a writer and that Jack London will undoubtedly sue Buck for lifting his plot, Buck hires Tom to sponge all the Jack London out of the script. Meanwhile, the sheriff threatens to put Buck’s equipment on the auction block if he doesn’t pay off a printer. On his new job, Tom the innocent wanders about the set with Adele, while Estleman packs in sparkling filler. A leap ahead to 1927 tells of Tom/Pulski’s visit as a big-time realtor to Hearst’s castle at San Simeon; then it’s back to 1913 and Buck’s fight against the Edison Trust. When his leading cowboy star dies on heroin, Buck hires a famous desperado just released from San Quentin to replace him. Buck takes to drink; Adele turns producer and makes a star of desperado J. W. Starling. Jump to 1948 for a nostalgic recap. Masterful description floats through a story that’s held together by sheer charm.

Pub Date: April 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-312-86676-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Finalist

  • Pulitzer Prize Winner

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more