Monday, 2 February 2015

Angel of the Abyss by Ed Kurtz

DarkFuse; 1 edition (Dec 2 2014)
322 pages - 19.40 $

Honestly, I chose this book because the synospis was vaguely reminiscent of one of Franck Thilliez's book, Syndrome E, in which a film makes people blind and generates a lot of dead bodies. I wanted to see how Ed Kurtz was going to treat the subject, if the story was more or less the same, or if it would be really different.

The blurb

When Graham Woodard is hired to restore part of a previously lost silent horror film—Angel of the Abyss—the last thing he expects is the first in a series of murders clearly meant to keep it lost.

With one-time friend Jake Maitland in tow, the two must now navigate the treacherous enigma that is the lost film, while piecing together the story of the film’s ill-fated starlet, Grace Baron, who vanished in 1926. The closer they get to the truth, the more blood is spilled, and it soon becomes apparent that there is much more to the lost film than anyone expected, as there are still forces that will stop at nothing to keep it and its star buried. The darkness the strange film conjured all those years ago has come alive again with its discovery, and now everyone from Graham’s own estranged ex-wife to the LAPD is getting involved.

And the body count is growing.

From the burgeoning film studios of 1920s Hollywood to the perilous streets and dark underbelly of modern-day Los Angeles, Angel of the Abyss is a dangerous tapestry of cinema, history and murder, at the center of which stand two men with everything to lose.

What's good about it

Film buffs will be delighted with this novel that gives pride to the cinema and mainly to silent movies. It talks about the premise of talking pictures, Los Angeles and the superficial life of local people, the beginnings of the great Hollywood companies, in short, a real plunge into a passion Ed Kurtz makes us share.

A special feature of the book I liked is that the story is written in several views (so far nothing new you could say), but it's also partially written in the first person for two of the protagonists. Depending on who's physically restricted between Graham and Jake, it's either talking. I admit that the change of "I" surprise me, but the differentiation between the two characters is carefree and easy.

We going from the investigation about the film today to the shooting of the film at the time, which allows us to understand the atmosphere and ultimately the reason for the disappearance of Grace and  the murderous desire to leave the film to oblivion. Both intrigues conclude one another. On one side you will find the scenes of the film and the characters' lives around the film, on the other the two partner in crime (pun intended!) seek to discover the reason behind the two disappearances (Grace and the film).

Some were disappointed by finding out that it's not a horror book (but about a vanished horror film). As for me, I was expecting a mystery and crime fiction and I was not disappointed with the noir Los Angeles atmosphere, the humor and the action too.

In a nutshell

A dark novel about the lies behind Hollywood, two well conducted intrigues and sympathetic characters, it's a 4/5 for me.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel

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