Book of Dreams CL

Craig Nova, Author, Robert W. Harris, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-395-63650-3
In his eighth novel, Nova ( The Good Son ; Trombone ) returns to his hometown of Hollywood for this suspenseful but problematic story of murder and blackmail. Fans will recognize the author's trademark convergent plot construction as he steers his three major characters toward a final, climactic meeting. Movie mogul Warren Hodges is all too willing to leave behind his studio trappings for the love of blonde Marta Brooks, a personals magazine receptionist he meets at one of his frequent parties. But Hodges doesn't know that the woman has accidentally killed a local porn king while picking up some film for her sleazy boss. The killing is witnessed by small-time hood Victor Shaw, whose visions of blackmail are hindered by the hit man who has been trailing him since Shaw's last job. Nova deftly interweaves a glitzy Hollywood background with some good noir atmosphere, and he scores telling points in his complicated yarn by revealing the essential hollowness of both crooks and bigwigs. The relationship between the mogul and the working girl never really clicks, however, leaving little justification for the love-struck Hodges to pursue the risky romance. Moreover, the finale falls curiously flat, although it does feature a literally smashing appearance by an ex-circus elephant that performs at children's parties. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/02/1994
Release date: 05/01/1994
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