A Permanent Twilight

Chuck Freadhoff, Author HarperCollins $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-019216-7
Freadhoff's second Johnny Rose novel (after Blue Rain) is an overly earnest thriller with the protagonist, the familiar reporter-as-hero, galvanized with a this-time-it's-personal twist as he explores the dangerous world of Los Angeles street kids. The formulaic plot has few surprises--a reporter sees a story where no one else does, argues with his editor, disobeys orders, gets suspended, gets warned off by thugs, enjoys a little romance and finally vindicates himself when he reveals the truth. Rose, an L.A. Journal reporter, gets a call from his runaway niece, Sara, who lives on the streets, but who now wants Rose to help her return to her mother in Atlanta. When Rose finally catches up with Sara, he stands helplessly watching as she dies in a suspicious fire. It doesn't take much digging for Rose to uncover a link between Sara's death and the murder of James Randall, whose naked body was dumped in the Hollywood hills. The connection leads Rose to the Hollywood Restoration Committee, headed by the Rev. Richard Roberts and movie actress Carol Holland, and sends the reporter on a desperate search for another street kid, Sara's friend Gem. The issue of homeless teens is interesting, despite Freadhoff's preachiness (these kids aren't runaways--they're ""throwaways""), but as the plot advances to its predictable conclusion (you can easily guess what role Sara's unstable father will play in the finale almost from the moment he's introduced), nothing sets the novel apart from the herd or conceals the framework of its by-the-numbers construction. Any story that offers up the line, ""You're a strange man, Johnny Rose,"" in its big romantic clincher scene is not front-page news. Author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 309 pages - 978-0-06-109728-7
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!