By: Peter Moore Smith
(Hardcover / 352 Pages / Little, Brown / ISBN: 0316803928 / $24.95)
Description: It is a hoarse whisper over a crackling cell phone - Angel - then the connection is lost. But Angel Veronchek is convinced that the voice belongs to his mysterious and beautiful new neighbor, Angela - and that she is terrified for her life. So begins Angels dangerous and desperate quest to uncover what happened to Angela, a woman he loves and has become obsessed with, but about whom he knows nearly nothing.
Verdict: In a run down part of West Hollywood thirty-four years old Angel Veronchek, son of a thriving producer, lives a near hermit-like existence. Part of it is caused by his being an albino, but much of his hiding is psychological. The recluse sees no one and does little inside his apartment except occasionally work on a screenplay "Los Angeles" while his DVD eternally plays 'Blade Runner.' He survives existence predominantly by psychological drugs. A new neighbor visits Angel introducing herself as Angela to the loner. She is his opposite as she is effervescent beautiful black person who plans to one day own Hollywood. Clearly opposites in appearance and outlook, Angela's energy and élan awaken Angel; he quickly falls in love for the first time in his lonely life. Surprisingly, Angela seems to share his deep feelings. Angel struggles with a foreign emotion, happiness until he receives the call. She whispers "Angel" and hangs up; disappearing from his life. Stunned and not ready to go out into the world, Angel investigates his Angela, not even sure she truly exists. 'Los Angeles' is an excellent psychological suspense drama that explores the concept of what is reality mostly from the perspective of Angel. The story line is moving and depressing as the lead protagonist is not an easy person for readers to understand or empathize with; thus this is not a one sitting tale as the dark mutterings (terrific prose) of Angel is disheartening and difficult to accept. Yet this deep look at reality is a two edged sword that makes Peter Moore Smith's tale compelling albeit with a warning label that the "star" is as gloomy a protagonist as one will find.
Reviewed by Judy Myers