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A Better Goodbye: A Novel Audio CD – Unabridged, 4 December 2015
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About the Author
- Publisher : Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged edition (4 December 2015)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 150466261X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1504662611
- Dimensions : 13.21 x 2.03 x 14.48 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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Since most of the action centers around the massage parlor, there`s a lot of sex involved, and since the author writes for TV, the dialogue is entertaining. Not a lot of suspense as one can pretty much see where things are going, but a nice depiction of the underbelly of L.A. life. Not quite in the class of James Ellroy, who made a career out of L.A. noir, but pretty good just the same.
Jenny is a little too smart and decent for the cynical, manipulative world of shady massage operations in which she makes her halfway way through life. Nick is a washed-up boxer who needs work — and beyond that, needs purpose. Onus DuPree is a stone thug looking for the next big score, and Scott Crandall is a fading pretty boy who no longer has Hollywood to fall back on. The four are on a collision course, and all trajectories lead to a high-rise "jack shack" in Los Angeles.
There's a "but" for every bit of praise or criticism I could offer for A BETTER GOODBYE. The prose is electric and kinetic, but occasionally sounds like a parody of Raymond Chandler. For every great line like "Dupree had ... elevator-shaft eyes that went all the way to the basement" there's a cringe-inducing sentence like "She came a heartbeat later, and then he did too, with cries that had their origins in primordial ooze."
The characters are all interesting, particularly Scott as the actor who doesn't know how to do anything but act and can't even act all that well. But it's hard to forget that for the most part, they're types rather than people — Nick as the down-and-almost-out boxer is every alienated-man redemption trope ever written; Jenny is every hooker with a heart of gold, or at least gold plating; and DuPree doesn't have much for the reader to connect to beyond a screenwriter-fantasy snarl.
What ultimately makes A BETTER GOODBYE worth reading is its insight — into the pathos of the fallen athlete, and especially into the shadowy world of massage that operates beyond the law. The types of men who patronize such places, the way they relate to the women, the way the women have seen it all and done it all and still make the stupidest possible choices about who to see outside of work. Author John Schulian is a career journalist of high renown, and his cultural anthropology reflects a deep and careful and unsentimental study of worlds you and I will rarely if ever see. That, and the occasional bit of singing prose — "It was a cold piece of blue steel with a snub nose and no serial number, and it made him forget about McQueen and feel more like Robert Mitchum or Lee Marvin back when film noir has hair on its a--"—make this noir-baked novel a cut above more wholly derivative fare.