Bret Easton Ellis
Knopf, Jun 15 2010, $24.95
Twenty-five years ago, they were Less Than Zero hipsters who thought they owned Los Angeles. Time has been cruel to those who survived the Hollywood scene of the mid 1980s.
Clay the screenwriter returns from New York to California where he does what he does best, party-hopping while seeking to sell a script he wrote. In his mind nothing has changed in two and half decades; perhaps that is because he parties in a purple haze of alcohol. As he makes the rounds, he runs into some of his hip playmates. His former wife Blair is married to Trent the producer. Julian owns and manages an escort service while Rip the dealer is more plastic than flesh. However except for a deal, Clay ignores the old crowd as his attention is on wannabe actress Rain Turner, who is 200 proof looks and zero talent. Julian warns him to be careful with Rain as she may seem like his submissive, but that might prove an alcoholic allusion as Clay begins to investigate deadly text messages and lurking cars.
With a nod to Elvis Costello, this is an interesting character driven thriller that though the story line is somewhat limited to the party-hopping it hooks readers with a need to know whether Clay as the narrator is a hallucinating paranoid from too much alcohol and drugs or a stalked victim. The support cast, as seen through Clay’s hazy lenses, enhances understanding of the lead protagonist. Although the plot deliberately turns cerebrally interpretively slow, fans, especially those of Less Than Zero, will appreciate Clay’s return as he hops the Imperial bedrooms of Los Angeles.