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A Stranger Like You
Synopses & Reviews
A taut and terrifying thriller about the lengths to which we'll go to make our dreams come true
Hedda Chase is a top-flight executive producer at Gladiator Films, fast-tracked in the business since she graduated from Yale. An aggressive businesswoman, she recently pulled the plug on a film project initiated by one of her predecessors. The screenwriter on the project was Hugh Waters, a wannabe with a dead-end marriage and a day job at an insurance company. This script was his ticket out-until Hedda tampered with his plans, claiming his violence was over the top, his premise not credible, and his ending implausible. Hugh decides to prove otherwise by staging his script's ending and casting Hedda Chase as the victim. He flies to Los Angeles and finds Hedda, kidnaps her, and locks her in the trunk of her vintage BMW in the parking lot at LAX. He leaves the keys in the ignition, the parking ticket on the dash, and lets "destiny" take its course.
This is the set-up for a troubling, smart, deadly look at women and images of women, at media as a high-stakes game and the selling of a war as theatre. (One key character is an Iraq veteran, and one of Hedda's projects is a film about women in Iraq). Brundage's Los Angeles is a casual battleground that trades carelessly in lives and dreams. As always, her characters are complicated, surprising, and intense in this high velocity, provocative novel.
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"Hollywood goes Hollyweird in this intense, provocative thriller about power, war, and the portrayal of women in film from Brundage (Somebody Else's Daughter). When Hedda Chase, a producer at Gladiator Films, rejects The Adjuster, a violently sexist movie script by insurance underwriter Hugh Waters, Hugh makes a special trip from his home in New Jersey to L.A. After locating where she lives, he confronts Hedda in her driveway and demands an explanation. Unhappy with her response, he drugs and stuffs Hedda in the trunk of her vintage BMW. He drives the car to an LAX parking lot and walks away. Hugh proceeds to befriend Hedda's boyfriend, married documentary filmmaker Tom Foster, and otherwise make a new life for himself, ditching his wife and job back in Jersey while Hedda barely clings to life. Brundage brilliantly shifts back and forth between Hugh, Hedda, and Denny, an injured Iraq war veteran, who plays a key role in Hedda's fate. The action culminates in illuminating revelations about the intersection of theater with reality. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
- The Doctor's Wife has sold 350,000 copies in paperback
- Visit www.elizabethbrundage.com
- Also available as an e-book
Brundage delivers a taut thriller about the lengths to which people will go to make their dreams come true. After film exec Hedda Chase pulls the the plug on a film project initiated by one of her predecessors, the screenwriter decides to stage his script's ending and casts Hedda as the victim.
"A pithy, ironic L.A. noir full of broken dreams and snappy repartee." -Stewart O'Nan
After years of working a dead-end job at an insurance company in New Jersey, Hugh Waters finally sells his screenplay to a major Hollywood studio. But when the young, Ivy League hotshot Hedda Chase takes over as top executive, she finds his story violent, unconvincing, and riddled with clichés, and quickly pulls the plug on the deal. So Hugh hops on a plane to L.A. hoping to talk things over-or perhaps he'll find another way to prove that his script isn't so implausible after all...
Evocative of Patricia Highsmith, and set against high-voltage backdrops from Hollywood to Abu Dhabi, A Stranger Like You is a taut and terrifying thriller about the lengths to which we'll go to make our dreams come true.
About the Author
Elizabeth Brundage is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she earned an MFA in fiction and a James Michener Award. Before attending Iowa, she was a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Her short fiction has been published in Greensboro Review, Witness magazine, and New Letters. She lives with her family in New York State.
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