A PLACE TO FALL by Roger Director

A PLACE TO FALL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A glib first novel by the successful TV writer and producer takes a huge bite from the hand that feeds him. Its anti-LA, anti-showbiz riffs are all predictable and in no way enhanced by his insider status. If it's news to you that Hollywood is peopled with venal egomaniacs, vulgar bottom-liners, and, yes, a few men of character and vision, then you might learn something here. But Director's strained sense of humor and his reaches for literary texture and allusiveness cannot disguise his formulaic plot and his crass view of humanity. The story is simple: Bill Ziff, a young writer, goes to Hollywood to work on a cop show produced by a cruel slob who obsesses about bowel movements and doesn't appreciate Ziff's genius and integrity. On the verge of losing his job, Ziff submits his first solo script, and the rest is, well, history. One character is spun off into a hugely successful drama about a tough-talking Catholic priest who helps those dying to realize their last wishes. A mega-success, ""Father Joey"" catapults its star, Tony Paris, into the upper brackets. Picked out from nowhere by Ziff, Tony forgets who ""created"" him. His power lust and arrogance lead to all sorts of conflicts, but Ziff doesn't mind until he suspects that Tony is sleeping with his wife. The great dilemma, then, is this: Should Ziff suffer and see his show go on to hit the jackpot of syndication--or should he destroy his creation? With no certain evidence of Tony's betrayal, Ziff chooses the latter and arranges for the show to plummet in ratings. Meanwhile, he retreats to wholesome Vermont with his wife and daughter. At the height of his fame, Paris records a bad blues album, signs on to endorse a chain of restaurants, and is hired for big budget-action adventure films. Sound familiar? Director, after all, was producer of Bruce Willis's Moonlighting. Given Willis's un-Paris-like career arc, this novel reads like hollow revenge.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Villard