cover image Hollywood North

Hollywood North

Michael Libling. ChiZine, $17.99 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-77148-490-9

Libling’s assured, quietly menacing debut, based on his World Fantasy Award–nominated novella of the same title, is steeped in bittersweet childhood nostalgia and coming-of-age foibles. Trenton, Ontario, in the 1960s is a town full of secrets and home to an unusual string of tragedies, which most of the adults seem to have forgotten; it also has its share of sinister townspeople and more than a few dead bodies. Young Jack Levin is frequently featured in the local paper for his fascinating finds, including a meteorite and a gold ring. Leo “Gloomy Gus” Berry would like to find things too, so he befriends Jack, hoping to learn his secrets. When Jack finds a treasure trove of silent film props, a local reporter orders the boys to burn them and forget them—or else. This all but ensures Jack and Gus will do no such thing. Along with their friend Annie Barker, they vow to discover why they’ve stirred such panic. Clues lie in Trenton’s history as “Hollywood North,” when it was a bustling silent movie town. Gus’s narration is chock-full of wry humor and golden-age film quotes. The leisurely telling belies the hint of evil simmering just below the town’s almost aggressively mundane surface, and there are a few surprises in store. Fans of Stand by Me and the like will find much to enjoy. Agent: Christine Cohen, Virginia Kidd Literary. (July)