cover image Rocky Mountain

Rocky Mountain

Loren D. Estleman / Author Forge $22.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-

From the author of the swashbuckling Billy Gashade comes this curiously fragmented story comprising anecdotal episodes from the pioneer days of Hollywood. The narrative unfolds in a series of long flashbacks to the year 1913 between flickering cuts to the future. Highlights include Valentino's funeral in 1926; a huge 1927 dinner party of luminaries (Louis B. Mayer, Gary Cooper, Gloria Swanson, the Barrymores and Gishes--Garbo sent regrets) at Hearst's San Simeon estate; the 1930 premiere of Hell's Angels; and a nostalgic segment reuniting the protagonists in 1948. At the earthbound heart of this intricately detailed story is Dmitri Andreivitch Pulski, an aspiring writer whose pen name is Tom Boston and who hopes to escape his fate as heir to the family ice-cutting business in Northern California. Sent to L.A. in 1913 to investigate the credit of the Rocky Mountain Moving Picture Association, a company that has just submitted the largest single order of ice in the company's history, young Dmitri finds himself caught up in the adventures of a fiery young Mexican ex-prostitute and a hardware clerk turned intrepid moviemaker who moved from the East Coast to evade unjust accusations of copyright infringement and piracy. With the help of his faithful family retainer, Yuri, the ice cutter helps the filmmakers take on crooked politicos and their hired thugs, and all ends well. While not nearly up to his best, Estleman's charming take on Hollywood history, balancing its glitzy and tawdry details, tells a satisfying story. (Apr.)