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Base, Ron.

Toronto, Doubleday, c1985. 310pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-385-25006-1.CIP

Reviewed by Ellen Robson

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

Ron Base, Toronto Star film critic, is host of the radio show "Marquee at the Movies" and co-writer of the screenplay for Heavenly Bodies. Now he has written his first novel, a thriller set in the film industry. The hero, Tom Coward, is a wandering journalist who wants to save his ex-girlfriend from her new boyfriend and possible murder. While investigating the man and two other related murders, he also is threatened. A unique prologue about a murder many years earlier sets the tone for the book and comes full circle in the last chapter.

The setting is one of the most interesting aspects of the book, as it focuses mostly on Toronto, with side trips to New York and Los Angeles, all part of the movie world. Base has some fun poking at some of the idiosyncrasies of Torontonians and the events that happen in that city. The most unpleasant part is the look at the sex, drugs, and alcoholism that are a part of the world of movies. Everyone is involved in some kind of power struggle in the novel, but no one appears to be normal, nor do they develop, or have much depth. Any illusions of Hollywood glamour will be quickly destroyed. The movies and the lives that the characters are involved with are full of sex and violence. It is this sex and violence that limit the use of the book in a school collection, but mature readers will enjoy this fast-paced thriller mystery.

Ellen Robson, Winston Churchill C.I., Scarborough, Ont.
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