cover image The Sunset Crowd

The Sunset Crowd

Karin Tanabe. St. Martin’s, $29 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-28046-6

In the canny latest from Tanabe (A Hundred Suns), a woman navigates love and friendship in cutthroat 1970s Hollywood. Narrator Beatrice Dupont befriends Hawaiian native Kai de la Faire, whom she describes as “a beautiful man with a big personality,” at a Swiss boarding school. Now, in her 20s and working as a photographer in Los Angeles for Vogue and Rolling Stone, Bea reconnects with Kai and meets his girlfriend, Evra Scott. A member of Hollywood’s royalty thanks to her actor mother and director father, Evra has eschewed the spotlight and instead opened a trend-setting clothing boutique. As Kai finds success with a screenplay and Evra’s star continues to rise, Bea plays the third wheel while pining for Kai (“I knew I couldn’t compete, but I could wait”). When Theodora Leigh, an attractive assistant at Paramount, shows up at Evra’s shop, she captures everyone’s attention, including Kai’s. Theodora is not shy about her determination to become a producer, but as she snakes her way into the trio’s mix, drama ensues, and Bea wonders if Theodora might have ulterior motives. Tanabe paints Bea as a strong leading lady who understands the pitfalls of Los Angeles (“It’s all one big con”), and she makes the characters deliciously complicated over the course of their ever-shifting allegiances. Readers will delight in this sunburst of ’70s nostalgia. Agent: Alyssa Reuben, WME. (July)