The “shrewd, entertainingly dark Hollywood novel” that inspired the award-winning Robert Altman film (The New York Times Book Review).
Hollywood insider Michael Tolkin perfectly skewers the movie-making business through the mind of Griffin Mill, senior vice president of production at a major Hollywood studio. Ruthlessly ambitious, Mill is driven to control the levers of America’s dream-making machinery. He listens to writers pitch him stories all day, sitting in judgment of their fantasies, their lives. But now one writer whose pitch he responded to so glibly is sending him mortally threatening postcards.
Squeezed between the threat to his life and the threat to his job, Mill’s deliberate and horrifying response spins him into a nightmare. Then he meets the sad and beautiful June Mercator and his obsession for her threatens to destroy them both.
“One of the most wounding and satirical of all Hollywood exposes.” —Los Angeles Times
“In its wry, acerbic description of life behind the studio gates Tolkin’s book recalls F. Scott Fitzgerald . . . and the vengeful comedy of Nathaniel West’s The Day of the Locust.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
Set in the upper reaches of Hollywood moguldom, this powerful and disquieting first novel delivers the punch its strong beginning promises. Griffin Mill is a young, near-the-top executive at a major movie studio. His life is the movies, his life's goal is to run the studio, and his every move is measured for its effect on getting him there. He doesn't tell anyone when he begins receiving angry postcards from a writer who complains: ``You said you'd get back to me. I'm still waiting''not because the cards threaten his life, but because they might be used against him within the studio. With a vague plan for propitiation, Griffin tries to pinpoint his threatening correspondent by making random contact with names from his calendar, all the while struggling not to lose his dominance in the management struggle. Dense with icons of the Hollywood mythstory meetings, power lunches, the right tables at the right restaurantsthis is a sharply etched mystery/thriller. But it is even more effective as a kind of modern morality tale. Griffin's self-absorption is so complete, his focus on his standing among colleagues and rivals so single-minded, that ordering from a luncheon menu takes on more significance to him than murder. In the hands of this talented writer, insecure, ruthless, aggressive Griffin Mill is an indelible character. 35,000 first printing; first serial to Manhattan, inc.; Literary Guild and Mystery Guild alternates.