This is the first in a new series of posts I will do, reviewing books, films, and recordings. Very fitting that it is of a book by Lee Goldberg of the fabulous Goldberg siblings, who I am sorry to say, are not related to us in any known way….
Charlie Willis is an ex-cop who works Security for Pinnacle Studios. His role? Troubleshooter. Take care of problems, protect the stars, protect the studio. He has a controversial past and now finds himself slap-bang in the middle of a mystery. Pinnacle has recently formed a new TV network – the Big Network, and someone has a problem with Big’s proposed revival of Beyond the Beyond, a 1960’s science fiction show with a worldwide cult following. Who exactly has the problem, which is manifesting itself in grissly murders, kidnappings, explosions, and pissing-on-livingroom-walls vandalism is what Charlie has to find out.
This loosely, is the premise of Dead Space, a book by Lee Goldberg, originally published in 1997 as Beyond the Beyond, and now republished for the Kindle. Lee – who incidentally is not related to me – has created a world, more specifically a Los Angeles (more specifically, a Hollywood), populated by manipulative agents with murderous assistants, insane actors, weirdo Beyonders (who attend conventions, write fanzines, and wear false noses a la Mr Snork), and wannabe producers and exec producers. It is a crazy world and to make sense of it we have two “normal” characters – Charlie Willis and Allison Sweeney – who are also the moral compasses of the book.
The story is a true, laugh-out-loud farce. It takes aim at, and collects … well, pretty much everyone. It’s not a laser beam, although it is razor sharp. It’s more a semi-automatic spraying bullets everywhere, and everything in its path ends up being a target.
It’s not really a murder mystery because you really know who’s doing what as it happens. But I still found myself riveted by the story. What’s gonna happen next? Who’s gonna get it next? How will it get resolved?
Its charm however, lies in the humor. Lee is a modern wit! The characters – each one crazier than the next – are awesome caricatures of people we know, or at least know of. Yes, they’re exaggerations. But I defy anyone to read this book, and not have one particular person in mind when they picture Guy Goddard. I won’t say who because it’ll be self-fulfilling, but you watch, and then tell me I’m wrong!
And what about the unforgettable Eddie Planet (pronounced Plan-A)? Love that name!!
And the most inventive murder scene you’ve ever read, including one little piece of evidence discovered at the scene which leads to the solving of that crime!!
But what I loved the most, and in the end now has me scouring Amazon for ALL of Lee’s other books, is the satirical writing style. I literally laughed out loud – in bed, on the toilet, on a plane, at my desk – as I was reading. I drove my wife nuts with “listen to this line….” over and over. I loved the dialogue and cynical banter, often Charlie to himself. And in the end, I’m jealous. Lee writes how I want to write.
I recommend Dead Space . Go out and get it for your Kindle or your iPhone or iPad. It’s worth it!!
Oh, and listen to this line: “Eddie slammed down the receiver and stood up, so preoccupied with the surprising turn of events, he didn’t even notice that he wiped himself with William Katt’s resume instead of the toilet paper.” Priceless!!