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A Stranger Like You

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Truly Wonderful, Stay-Up-All-Night Reading; Great Book Club Choice

    I LOVE this book. The flap copy oh so modestly calls it "smart, scary, provocative, topical, and full of surprises." It lives up to the billing and delivers even more! In the context of a Hollywood hotshot's rejection of a script that is an example of everything wrong with film today - violent premise, implausible ending, full of clichés - Brundage delivers a story that playfully examines those flaws and somehow (really this is such an amazing thing to watch unfold) ends up employing them to create a story that is not just believable and unclichéd, but also emotionally moving and thought-provoking - without sacrificing the thriller pacing Hollywood relies so heavily upon.

    I could go on forever about the things to admire here: the clever structure; the brilliant prose (so many lines and phrases I wish I'd written); the very full and real characters; and, in the Hedda sections, the most effect second person point of view I've ever read. Book clubs will find so much to discuss. But what carries A Stranger Like You beyond admirable literary fiction to truly wonderful, stay-up-all-night reading is that one thing Hollywood values, and so often fails to deliver: a compelling and meaningful story well-told.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2010

    A Literary Delight

    When Hugh Waters, insurance agent, takes a screenwriting class and miraculously sells his salacious thriller to Hollywood, his drab and unhappy life takes on sudden meaning. But when a Hollywood executive dies, the successor, Ivy Leaguer Hedda Chase, denounces the script as chauvinistic and unbelievable, resulting in a cancelled contract for Hugh.


    Hugh snaps, flies to LA, and stalks Hedda with a vague plan to convince her she's wrong about his story. Instead, with no qualms and with the calculating, level-headed insanity of a true sociopath, he submits her to the same quandary the character in his film endures, to prove that his plot is plausible. Hedda is locked in the trunk of her vintage BMW and abandoned at the airport, keys dangling in the ignition.


    On another path, Iraq war veteran Denny Rios, pushed and berated by a group of decadent soldiers, was forced to half-heartedly join in the horrific rape of a young Iraqi girl when on duty overseas. Haunted by the experience, sickened by guilt, never free of the girl's face in his nightmares, Denny flees when the cops approach his aunt and uncle's home and steals the car with Hedda still bound and gagged in the trunk.


    I know, it's an intriguing plot. But it's not the storyline that captivated me in this novel. It's more the Dostoevsky-like telling of the tale.


    Although A Stranger Like You is billed as a mystery/thriller, I'd prefer to see it classified as literary psychological fiction. The "literary" tag comes from the pure poetry that infiltrates Brundage's well-written prose.


    "They would smoke pot and make love, her skin the impenitent green of old bay leaves, her nipples like the smudged rubber thimbles of a bookkeeper, and then she'd make him tea with mint that she grew on her windowsill. Compared to his wife, Jolene was easily satisfied, uninhibited about her nakedness, her smells, her moody breath. She moved with the unhindered heft of a wrestler."


    Brundage showcases very long and winding passages that contain little dialog or action, aside from the running stream-of-consciousness thoughts of each character. Layered over and between each other, these passages of inner thoughts, often told in present tense, second person, lend kaleidoscopic views to the story, hopping back and forth through time and focusing on the unique angle seen by each character. It's the use of second person ("you" POV) that brings the intimacy to these segments.
    (see more on Amazon.com)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Terrific and Quirky!

    Hugh Waters is a mess. Unhappily married and working at a dead end job as an insurance underwriter in New Jersey, Hugh Waters suddenly had a bright future; Gladiator Films bought his screenplay for enough money to fuel his fantasies of a better life. But just as quickly, everything changed for the worse for Hugh when the executive producer passed away and was replaced by Hedda Chase. Chase has decided she's finished with violent and sexist movie scripts and axes Hugh's script, sending him a vitriolic letter that sends him into a tailspin.

    After Waters receives Chase's missive, he travels from New Jersey to LA to confront her and prove her wrong. Not getting the response he wants, he acts out his screenplay by kidnapping Hedda, locking her in the trunk of her car and leaving her at LAX long term parking with the keys in the ignition and walks away leaving her to chance.

    Reminiscent of the movie "CRASH", Brundage weaves narratives by Waters, Chase, a teenage runaway and a troubled young soldier just home from Iraq and working as a parking lot attendant at LAX. While you hold your breath waiting to find out Hedda's fate, Hugh insinuates himself into her life and social circle.

    The novel explodes when the characters intersect in this terrific and quirky thriller. I'll definitely be reading Brundage's previous books. Lynn Kimmerle

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2010

    Brundage at top of her game

    A beautifully written thriller that deals not only with a gripping story but with serious topical issues. It offers bookclubs much in-depth material to discuss. A Stranger Like You is Brundage's third novel-an absorbing work worthy of high praise! Francessilver

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    Another provocative novel by Brundage.

    Another provocative novel by Brundage.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent book! Insightful characters and dramatic!

    I just finished reading this book. I couldn't put it down, literally. I read it in one shot. Brundage takes the reader into the minds of three main characters, a top film producing executive, a psycho guy who just left his wife and a GI who returned from the Iraq war. The chapters alternate between perspectives. The reader gets to know each one and come to understand them. One of these characters is abducted. But who did it? It is NOT obvious. And, Brundage expertly weaves the tale along a winding path that is interesting and wild. I loved it! I also loved her first book The Doctor's Wife. Kim

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    Great Novel

    This is a fast, intelligent read. I read it over the weekend and it got me thinking about a lot of things - the movies and the industry that makes them and the people involved. And the war in Iraq. The characters are very strange and unique and I wasn't sure if they were all going to come together in the end, but they did. This is a truly oustanding novel.

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  • Posted May 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is an exciting psychological thriller

    Gladiator Films producer Hedda Chase rejects the script of The Adjuster that her late predecessor approved. The scriptwriter New Jersey insurance underwriter Hugh Waters rages. His violence against women script contains no hint of a redeeming quality. Leaving his wife behind, a fuming, in spite of being paid for his script, Hugh goes to Hollywood to confront Hedda.

    In her driveway, he demands she explain why she said no. He ignoring her response as nothing she says will appease him. Instead Hugh drugs Hedda and dumps her in the trunk of her BMW. He drives her car to A Los Angeles Airport parking lot and leaves. He next meets and becomes friends with Hedda's married boyfriend documentary filmmaker Tom Foster. Hugh begins a reinvented life in California while Hedda struggles to survive as her car is stolen by war veteran Denny and Daisy a runaway heading to Vegas.

    This is an exciting psychological thriller that deftly follows the thoughts and escapades of the lead trio (Hugh, Hedda, and Denny) though the viewpoints applied differ as for instance the producer is from a second person POVand almost seems like a camera perspective; the others are more first and third person. Entertaining, fans will enjoy this fine tale in which Hollywood considers going Abu Dhabi.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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