cover image Errors and Omissions

Errors and Omissions

Paul Goldstein, . . Doubleday, $24.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-385-51717-1

Goldstein, a Stanford law professor, takes a tired legal thriller convention for his debut—the alcoholic attorney staring into a personal and professional abyss—and spins out a fresh, sharp-witted drama about Hollywood's blacklist. Intellectual property lawyer Michael Seeley takes a case that could be his swan song: arguing that United Pictures, a huge movie studio, still has the rights to its cash cow, the Spykiller series, now coming up on its eighth installment. What appeared to be a simple legal brief, however, takes Seeley back to the Hollywood of the 1950s when blacklisted writers were forced to conceal their identity to sell scripts—a practice that muddies the Spykiller pedigree for United. Soon, Seeley finds himself in a violent tug-of-war among studio bosses, the screenwriter's union and long-forgotten blacklist victims. Sharp dialogue and a well-formed main character more than make up for a shortage of action and a finale that could use a bit more kick. Goldstein, who does a fine job of breaking down complicated moral, ethical and historical issues to understandable nuggets, has laid the foundation for what could be a strong franchise. (July)