Toiling away amid the looming palm trees and decaying bungalows, a struggling young writer (who bears a strong resemblance to Ray Bradbury himself) spins fantastic stories from his fertile imagination upon his clacking typewriter. Trying not to miss his girlfriend, who is away studying in Mexico, the nameless writer steadily crafts his literary efforts - until strange things begin happening around him.
The writer first receives a series of peculiar phone calls, then finds clumps of seaweed on his doorstep. And, as the incidents escalate, his friends fall victim to a series of mysterious "accidents" - some of them fatal. Aided by Elmo Crumley, a savvy, street-smart detective, and a reclusive actress of yesteryear with an intense hunger for life, the wordsmith sets out to find the connection between the bizarre events and, in doing so, uncovers the truth about his own creative abilities.
©1985 Ray Bradbury (P)2010 Tantor
To really appreciate this book you need to have grown up in Southern California in the 1950's when there were seedy amusement parks with rickety wooden roller coasters at the Sunset Pier, Venice Pier and Ocean Park Pier. This story is not typical Ray Bradbury in that it is not really his usual genre. However his poetic use of the English Language to give the feeling of an old black and white high contrast Noir mystery is unmatched.
There is a certain unreality that is present throughout which makes it seem like a fantasy but underneath it is a solid murder mystery. The characters are a mixture of Raymond Chandler, Charles Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe. While the storyline is solid, it obviously takes a back seat to the mood created by dark poetic language and the unique characters that Bradbury uses throughout. It is said that much of this novel is autobiographical and that the protagonist is really Bradbury himself. Frankly it doesn't matter. Overall this was a great listen. It literally sent me back in time; back to the days when there were roller coasters and seedy bars and tattoo parlors on wooden piers that have long ago been torn down or washed into the Pacific over time.
I wish Bradbury had written some more books like this one.
Peter Berkot did an excellent job of narrating.
I love mysteries!
Bleak, Gritty, dark
The blind guy who could smell the bad guy.
When the main character sees the vast and strange collection of books.
Remember the Twilight Zone
While I have seen dozens of Bradbury's works on film, this was my first to read/listen to. If this is typical of his prose, we are missing a lot in his films. I gave the story four stars, really should have been 4 1/2, but I was too confused in places to have enjoyed every moment. I often use my audiobooks to put me to sleep (using the sleep button) and closing my eyes to just focus on the words. I was not able to do so with this story because I felt the need to be alert (and yes AWAKE) to really listen and 'protect' myself.
Mr. Berkrot is the best narrator I've yet heard. I had no doubt who was speaking as he read. EXCELLENT.
I do recommend the book, but you must be in the NOIR mood.
The fantastical characters and place in history make this more than your ordinary mystery.
The discovery of the garden of Eden.
The lonely walk along the boardwalk and the roller coaster in the ocean.
It made me happy.
I wrote a review on my blog, Red Dirt Ramblings
Me am Pop-Surrealist Tiki-Artist living and making Art on the active volcanic "Big Island" of Hawaii. Aloha.
NO - NOTHING IS AS GOOD AS RAY BRADBURY IN PRINT. BUT THIS IS GOOD.
EVERY MOMENT IS POETRY - THE MURDERER WHISPER OF "DEATH IS A LONLEY BUSINESS" IS CHILLING.
A YOUNG STURDY VOICE LIKE THAT OF THE MAIN CHARACTER - A YOUNG SCIENCE FICTION WRITER WHO IS UNNAMED IN THE BOOK, BUT WHO IS OF COURSE RAY BRADBURY HIMSELF! THAT'S RIGHT. RAY BRADBURY IN A BOOK BY RAY BRADBURY, THEY TALK ABOUT WHAT HE HAS WRITTEN, BUT JUST NO ONE USES HIS NAME. A YOUNG STARVING SCIENCE FICTION WRITER IN COD MOODY FOGGY VENICE BEACH WITH A MURDER LOOSE... WILL ANYONE BLEIVE HIS CRAZY IDEAS ON WHO THE KILLER IS?????
EVERY MONENT IS GREAT - THE BOOK IS TOTAL MAGIC. I USED TO LIVE IN VENICE BEACH. WATCHING OLD MOVIES IN MANSION WITH AN AGING MOVIE QUEEN WAS AMAZING.
IF YOU DID NOT KNOW -THIS IS THE 1ST OF THREE MYSTER BOOKS THAT FEATURE ALL THE SAME CHARACTERS. 2ND ONE (MY FAV) IS "A GRAVEYARD FOR LUNATICS" WITH RAY AND RAY HARRYHAUSEN (YES THE SPECIAL EFFECTS MASTER) SOLVING A PHATOM OF THE MOVIE STUDIO MURDER MYSTERY - WITH THE GRUFF POLICE MAN, OLD MOVIE QUEEN, BLIND BLACK MAN, AND MANY OTHERS. AMAZING FIND - LOOK FOR IT !! 3RD BOOK IS CALLED "LET'S ALL KILL CONSTANCE." ONCE AGAIN RAY AND THE POLICE DETECTIVE, THE BLIND MAN, AND THE MOVIE QUEEN SOLVE A HOLLYWOOD MURDER MSTERY. CHILLING AND TWISTING AND POETIC. HARD TO FIND...A REAL TREASURE.READS ALMOST LIKE A PLAY.
Not sure. The story just rambled.
Sure he is an icon. But this book didn't cut it for me.
No narration was good.
I couldn't finish it. Really boring. Hard to follow. Nothing happening.
Love Audible. I am a member and enjoy the books. This one just did not work for me. I tried but had to stop listening.
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