Like the hero in a classic Hitchcock thriller, the innocent movie buff at the center of this witty and suspenseful novel finds his ordinary life suddenly transformed when he’s plunged into a harrowing game of intrigue, duplicity, and danger. Spurred into a frantic race from New York to Hollywood to Barcelona and back, he’ll encounter enough hairpin twists, shocking surprises, white-knuckle tension, and sinister characters to give even the master of suspense himself a serious case of vertigo. But in this scenario, the mayhem and murder are all too real.
Self-proclaimed movie geek and divorced thirtysomething Roy Milano lives alone in a cramped Manhattan apartment, toiling as a freelancer to make ends meet. It’s a life perfectly suited to the creator of Trivial Man, Roy’s self-published newsletter—filled with tidbits of little-known Tinseltown lore for the delight of other fringe-dwelling cinemaphiles. And it’s a tantalizing phone call from one such kindred spirit that thrusts Roy headlong into his waking noir nightmare.
“I’ve got The Magnificent Ambersons,” declares Alan Gilbert, host of a homemade cable-TV show about the silver screen, who now claims to possess the rarest of the rare: the long-lost and never-released complete print of Orson Welles’s classic follow-up to Citizen Kane. But when Roy arrives at his fellow movie maven’s abode to sneak a peek at celluloid history, the front door is ominously open, Alan Gilbert is dead, and The Magnificent Ambersons is nowhere in sight. Even though the cops arrest a local drug addict for the murder, Roy knows they’re wrong—because the theft of the movie masterpiece points to a different kind of junkie. The kind Roy knows only too well . . . and the kind he’s certain only he can catch.
But Roy Milano is no Sam Spade, even if he does run into more gun-toting goons, sucker punches, and double-crosses than Bogey on a busy day. And the suspects prove to be anything but usual—including a bodybuilding film fanatic obsessed with bizarre rumors about an A-list actress, a rotund reporter who holds Hollywood in thrall via red-hot Internet dispatches from his parents’ basement, and a starstruck street punk with a thousand voices. And then there’s the transatlantic love triangle that finds Roy caught between his very own eager Gal Friday and a sultry Spanish siren with a stunning secret. But when the bodies start to fall faster than a box-office bomb, Roy must cut to the chase in his perilous quest to save the Holy Grail of cinema—and unmask a killer—before everything fades to black.
LAURENCE KLAVAN won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original for Mrs. White, written under a pseudonym. He is also the author of The Cutting Room, the first novel featuring Roy Milano. His work for the theater includes the librettos… More about Laurence Klavan
Ebook | $3.99
Published by Ballantine Books Feb 03, 2004| 288 Pages| ISBN 9780345472083
“A lightning-paced, high-concept thriller . . . Astonishingly inventive, The Cutting Room stands out as one of the best mysteries of the year!” —TESS GERRITSEN, author of The Sinner
"In 1984, writing under the pseudonym Margaret Tracy, Klavan won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original for Mrs. White. Now–two decades later and best known as the librettist for the Obie Award-winning musical Bed and Sofa–Klavan has produced this wry, whimsically romantic crime novel. Brimming with engaging tidbits of movie trivia, it is narrated in the self-effacing voice of its bumbling, endearing hero, Roy Milano, publisher of Trivial Man, a cultish movie trivia newsletter sold through bookstores and video outlets around the Big Apple. . . This tongue-in-cheek whodunit marks the long overdue second coming of a gifted novelist." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A great bit of escapism for film and mystery buffs alike. . . Klavan’s touch is playful and deft." —Booklist