Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review: Alone

If you follow this blog or know me at all, this will be the most boring review for you. I read Loren Estleman’s latest book, Alone, and I loved it. Of course I loved it! This is the second novel about Valentino, the “film detective” who works for UCLA to find lost films. At a costume party he meets a wealthy man who has the famous short that has Greta Garbo’s first on screen appearance. As most mysteries go, a dead body must appear. This time it’s the tycoon’s assistant.

The mystery is well done, as expected from Estleman, but what really shines are the Garbo love and the character advancements. Throughout the book, various characters bring up her movies and the Swedish beauty in general. She truly was one of a kind. It’s hard to find such on screen elegance like that anymore, even when she’s in a comedy like Ninotchka. In Alone, there’s a nifty subplot that debates one of the big questions surrounding Garbo. Like I mentioned earlier, a pleasant surprise was seeing the characters evolve in an interesting format. At this point I can come to expect good stuff featuring Valentino and his girl Harriet. However what I really thought shined brightly was the plotline involving Broadbent, the older film historian who is searching for a proper drive.

I know this book just came out a month ago, but I already want the next entry. I wish this was a famous series and I can go to a bookstore and find the next twenty in the series waiting to be devoured.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that this is an excellent read, as is almost always the case with Estleman. A book of Valentino short stories is supposedly due out this year and Estleman has said that he is half-way through the third Valentino novel (which probably means he's nearly done with it, since it has been a month or so since he said that). A couple of things on the negative side that Vince Keenan pointed out in his very favorable review of the book: Brian DePalma's name is misspelled and Pulp Fiction is misquoted in the afterward. Minor quibbles, I'd say.