Saturday, October 16

Hollywood Hustle - Gordon Korman

Vince Luca wants to be a director, but that's only part of the reason he chose to go to college in California - the other reason is to get as far away as possible from his father, cappo of a New York mob. He and his girlfriend drop his best friend Alex off in Las Vegas before driving west; Kendra's starting at a music academy - she's gorgeous, plays piano beautifully and has a great but untrained voice. She's also the daughter of an FBI agent more interested in bringing down Anthony Luca than almost anything else, so Romeo and Juliet have nothing on this couple.
College life strains their relationship more than Vince anticipated - Kendra has no time for him but apparently endless hours to star in would-be-director and Vince's classmate P. Richard Shapiro's (a real P-Rick) student film. And though he's trying hard to be strong, roommate Trey's new, gorgeous, older girlfriend Willow seems to be throwing herself at him. Trey can't stand his father, US senator William Sutter, but the straight life fascinates Vince, who desperately wants to expunge every aspect of his father's involvement in The Life from his life.
This sequel to Son of the Mob is as funny and fun as the original - in common with most of Korman's longer novels, it's peopled with distinctive characters who have agendas that bewilder the Everyman hero, tilting him a little off the unobtrusive path he has in mind for himself. for Vince this starts with his rebellious roommate and the host of characters who inhabit his college aerie, but the arrival of his connected brother Tommy, apparently interested in going straight, is only the second in a series of appearances of family (both blood and Family) who pop up, reminding Vince that you can never really leave.

I've said before that Korman should be more widely read, particularly by reluctant male readers - his writing is accessible but nuanced, his plots are twisty but easily followed, his dialogue is realistic and funny, his protagonists are everymen, and his supporting characters are just a little larger than life. - Alex

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