The Same River Twice

Ted Mooney, Author
Ted Mooney, Author . Knopf $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-307-27273-7
Reviewed on: 03/01/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010

A promising plot involving Russian contraband propels this Parisian thriller, but Mooney (Traffic and Laughter ) fails to create engaging characters, and his overworked prose doesn't help matters much. Max Colby, who judges himself to be quite possibly “the most inventive and daring filmmaker of his time,” struggles with creative challenges and with his adventurous wife, Odile, who is having an affair with Turner, an art dealer who has crossed a ruthless Russian mobster and is handling the sale of a small collection of smuggled Russian folk art. Lengthy descriptions of Max's cinematic travails and random filmic insights take up swaths of the book, either supplanting the action or bizarrely coexisting with implausible developments (a pivotal murder is especially hard to believe). Other glitches—wooden dialogue, a far-fetched denouement—interfere with an occasionally savory if predictable yarn. (July)

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