Far from Heaven

Greg Matthews, Author Walker & Company $20.95 (302p) ISBN 978-0-8027-3303-0
The title of this clunky first novel in a proposed series refers to WWII-era Hollywood, a nasty place where the studios are run by moguls who own their employees body and soul. Keith Moody, writer of B-westerns at Empire Studios, receives an apparent windfall when his long-lost cousin, fighter pilot Russell Keys, becomes a war hero. Studio head Marvin Margolis promises Moody the screenwriting gig if he can get Keys to sell his story to Empire. Moody is no sooner successful than Keys and his plane disappear over the Rocky Mountains. Add to that an attempt to blackmail the studio over Keys's supposedly squeaky clean reputation and Moody begins to smell a rat. Nursing a budding relationship with Myra, sister to the film's star, Moody also plays detective when the blackmailer is killed. Next, a private detective Moody hires bites the dust and bodies start flying. The convoluted plot is overcrowded with flat characters portrayed broadly and with only boilerplate humor. Matthews fails to breathe life into his 1940s Hollywood setting, racks up an unbelievable body count and, in the end, produces a story that resembles one of Moody's B-movie scripts. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1997
Release date: 08/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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