Angel,says a hoarse voice over a crackling cell phone connection and then she is gone. Angel Veronchek is convinced that the voice belonged to his mysterious and beautiful new neighbour, Angela - and that she is terrified for her life. So begins Angels dangerous and desperate quest to uncover what happened to Angela, a woman he knows nearly nothing about but her name (which turns out to be false), a woman Angel is in love with. But Angel has his own secrets. The son of one of Hollywoods most powerful producers, Angel has renounced a world of wealth and glamour that most people only dream of. It is only Angelas arrival, and her eerie disappearance, that knock his solitary, reclusive life off balance, and plunge him into the sinister world of Los Angeles nights, a world of secrets that arent meant to be told, and lost people who arent meant to be found.
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You’ve got to feel at least a bit sorry for Angel Veronchek, the 34-year-old leading man in Los Angeles, Peter Moore Smith's second novel of psychological suspense (after the Edgar-nominated Raveling). Sure, Angel's lucky enough to be the son of a renowned action-movie producer and a French model who's way too invested in cosmetic surgery; sure, he needn't work for a living, but can spend his time writing "the ultimate screenplay" about LA's "glitter-town disillusionment"; and sure, he's just commenced a passionate affair with his West Hollywood neighbor, a young, free-spirited black stripper named--coincidentally--Angela. The downside, though, is that Angel's a reclusive, light-sensitive albino obsessed with the movie Blade Runner, and boasting an in-home pharmacy of striking breadth ("all the drugs I had been prescribed for anxiety, depression, and social phobia, as well as the other meds designed to counteract the side effects of the first set"). It takes every ounce of willpower for him simply to exist in a city as belligerently bright and boisterous as LA. So, when Angela suddenly disappears, following a phone call that suggests she's in danger, Angel must stretch well beyond his cramped comfort zone to get her back--or even learn who she really is. His pathetic investigation leads him to a rock concert in Rio; into conflict with his father's unctuous attorney; and to the conclusion that everyone knows more about what’s going on here than he does. "This was a movie, and I was just a character," Angel remarks at one point. "I could even feel the pages of the script unfolding."
Smith's prose is supple and seductive, and he's at his best when chewing over the porous demarcation between reality and fantasy, or recounting the fractured fairy tale of his protagonist's upbringing (Angel's repeated efforts to impart some color to his skin are particularly poignant). Less firm is the mystery that forms Los Angeles's spine. Though the plot cleverly manipulates the reader, as much as it does Angel, it's unduly complicated and requires considerable suspension of belief. Still, the author deserves applause for subverting the supposedly familiar patterns of noir storytelling. His City of Angel is devilishly deceptive. --J. Kingston PierceAbout the Author:
Peter Moore Smith vit à New York. Il a publié des nouvelles très remarquées dans des magazines littéraires américains et est l''auteur des Écorchés, également Points Thriller.
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