Set in Jazz-Age New York and Hollywood in the Thirties, Shooting Genji is a noir thriller seen from the unusual perspective of a young man named Jean-Yves LeFouet. As a teenager, Jean-Yves falls off a ladder, after being distracted by the sight of his girlfriend kissing another guy, and the accident leaves him hollow-hearted and almost blinded by daylight. On the other hand, his night vision becomes extremely good. He soon discovers he's well suited to any number of shady jobs.
His first dimly lit career path opens up one night when bootleggers hijack him and his truck. After he drives them white-knuckled in the dark - with no headlights - they realize he's just the wheelman they need. They recommend his talents to the Wall Street broker laundering their money, who introduces Jean-Yves to one of the dark arts of Wall Street - front running. The Bull Market and wild nights end abruptly with the Crash of '29, when the tough customers are not amused, and Jean-Yves has to skip town.
Why not try Los Angeles? The dancer he wooed in New York, whom he let slip through his fingers, is trying to break into the talkies. He finds work there as a chauffeur, delivering scripts at night for a hyphenate-scoundrel, a British director intent on making an erotic film based on the world's first novel - written 1,000 years ago by a woman - The Tale of Genji.
Jean-Yves finds himself increasingly hard-pressed to navigate the hairpin turns in Hollywood, including his girlfriend's reappearance, especially after having met the lovely bookseller who supplies his employer with copies of Genji, the Japanese classic. Lively and literate, this lady from Shanghai may prove to be his undoing... or his salvation.
©2013 Richard Voorhees (P)2014 Richard Voorhees
I am a big "Noir" fan and was engrossed and entertained during the whole reading. Would definitely recommend to friends.
Loved all the characters, the more outrageous the better.
Yes, and he is always articulate and informative.
This book would make an excellent movie - "Bootleggers, Booze & Old Hollywood"
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