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Stardustby Joseph Kanon
Synopses & Reviews
Hollywood, 1945. Ben Collier has just arrived from wartorn Europe to find that his brother, Daniel, has died in mysterious circumstances. Why would a man with a beautiful wife, a successful career in the movies, and a heroic past choose to kill himself?
Determined to uncover the truth, Ben enters the maze of the studio system and the uneasy world beneath the glossy shine of the movie business. For this is the moment when politics and the dream factories are beginning to collide as Communist witch hunts render the biggest stars and star makers vulnerable. Even here, where the devastation of Europe seems no more real than a painted movie set, the war casts long and dangerous shadows. When Ben learns troubling facts about his own family's past, he is caught in the middle of a web of deception that shakes his moral foundation to its core.
Rich with atmosphere and period detail, Stardust flawlessly blends fact and fiction into a haunting thriller evoking both the glory days of the movies and the emergence of a dark strain of American political life. It brilliantly proves why Joseph Kanon has been hailed as the heir apparent to Graham Greene (Boston Globe).
"James Ellroy fans will find a lot to like in this gritty look at post-WWII Hollywood from Edgar-winner Kanon (Los Alamos). Ben Collier, recently returned to the U.S. from service in the Signal Corps in Europe, travels to California after his sister-in-law, Liesl, informs him that his director brother, Danny, has suffered a serious fall from a hotel window. Was it an accident or a suicide attempt? Ben arrives in time to witness his brother briefly emerge from a coma, but soon afterward Danny dies. While Liesl believes the suicide theory, Ben suspects someone pushed Danny out the window and turns amateur detective to identify the culprit. In a noirish twist, the widowed Liesl comes on to Ben. The stakes rise after Ben learns Danny was playing a part in an anticommunist crusade a congressman is launching against the film industry. Kanon perfectly balances action and introspection, while smoothly integrating such real-life figures as actress Paulette Goddard into the plot. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Kanon's atmospheric, character-driven latest (Alibi, 2005, etc.) comes within a whisker of being flawless." Kirkus Reviews
"This ambitious novel is for anyone interested in Hollywood in the late 1940s or the film industry's response to the era's congressional witch hunts." Library Journal
"Stardust re-creates a time and a place with pinpoint accuracy and reminds us once again that the wounds of war take time to heal." Booklist
About the Author
Joseph Kanon is the author of four other novels, Los Alamos, The Good German, The Prodigal Spyand Alibi. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was a book publishing executive. He lives in New York City.
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