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Light Before Day

( 29 )

Overview

"Twenty-six-year-old journalist Adam Murphy is chasing a career-making story when he is suspiciously fired by the magazine that employs him. Scarred by the failure of a recent relationship, and haunted by the violent death of his alcoholic mother, Adam finds himself cut adrift in the city of West Hollywood. Determined to expose the facts behind the suicide of the Marine pilot, he discovers that his estranged lover has vanished without a trace, and that his disappearance matches several other recent missing persons cases. Working with his new ...
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Overview

"Twenty-six-year-old journalist Adam Murphy is chasing a career-making story when he is suspiciously fired by the magazine that employs him. Scarred by the failure of a recent relationship, and haunted by the violent death of his alcoholic mother, Adam finds himself cut adrift in the city of West Hollywood. Determined to expose the facts behind the suicide of the Marine pilot, he discovers that his estranged lover has vanished without a trace, and that his disappearance matches several other recent missing persons cases. Working with his new boss, James Wilton - a famously curmudgeonly mystery novelist with his own battle scars, who is eager for a new case to write about - Adam begins to suspect a serial killer is preying on the city's young gay men." "Meanwhile, Caroline Hughes, an intense young surgical resident, scours central California, also seeking a serial killer: an avenger of such legendary violence he seems more demon than man." "The truth that Adam, Caroline, and James Wilton discover is far more diabolical than they could ever have imagined." From the mansion-strung Hollywood Hills to the drug-ravaged hamlets of the Central Valley, they enter a labyrinth that leads to the darkest core of the human heart - uncovering a conspiracy so extraordinary that it threatens both their sanity and their lives.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A 20-something magazine reporter becomes embroiled in a Hollywood murder mystery in Rice's (The Snow Garden) third, richly developed thriller. It's a blessing in disguise when Adam Murphy is fired from racy fluff rag Glitz, since he'd been chasing a real story involving a closeted Marine helicopter pilot, Daniel Brady, whose association with a pedophilic pimp produced a sordid videotape that led to Daniel's suicide plane crash. But Adam's still reeling from the demise of a heated, three-week affair with hunky but secretive Corey, who'd outgrown Adam's blackout-inducing drunkenness. Adam soon becomes the assistant to sharp, sarcastic straight mystery novelist James Wilton, who instructs Adam to continue researching Daniel Brady. One of Rice's most spirited characters, James consistently counteracts Adam's hyperactive enthusiasm with candor and a sensible "working theory," and when Corey disappears, Adam discovers that three other gay men have inexplicably vanished over the past few years, supposed victims of the West Hollywood Slasher. Armed with a dossier from a trustworthy Hollywood reporter, Adam sets out to solve the crime that swells into blackmail, murder, a child porn ring and a subplot involving a "rogue assassin" who blows up methamphetamine labs. Though this is a step up from the author's previous efforts, Rice has yet to leave behind the sometimes awkward prose and dialogue (which veers between frivolous and woodenly expository) that dampens the narrative tension he cultivates. Agent, Lynn Nesbit. 12-city author tour. (Mar. 16) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In Rice's third novel (after The Snow Garden), gay hunk Adam Murphy works at a West Hollywood men's magazine while struggling with dual alcohol and cocaine addictions. After a gay porn actor gives him the story of a closeted marine helicopter pilot that could jumpstart his journalism career, Adam is hired by reclusive crime writer James Wilton to investigate the pilot's links to the gay underworld. At the same time, several West Hollywood gays have disappeared (could a serial killer be involved?) and a crystal meth factory explodes in California's Central Valley, with fatal results. Rice fails to infuse these parallel and overly intricate plots with credibility, and the plethora of secondary characters-many possessing dual identities-may confuse many readers. In addition, the strong personality of James Wilton overshadows Adam Murphy as the lynchpin of the novel. Unlikely to win Rice many new readers, this disturbing story should still be popular with his established fans. Purchase for demand.-Joseph M. Eagan, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Rice's third and best still bears the flaws of A Density of Souls (2000) and The Snow Garden (2002). The young author concocts a gay mystery in West Hollywood that has echoes of Chandler but none of Chandler's grip or stylish metaphor. Adam Murphy, 25, writes stories about gay life for LA's Glitz, a magazine some think of as an underwear catalogue. Adam has a cocaine and alcohol problem that leads to blackouts, and in one of them he did something, he thinks, so shameful that he can't remember it. He and the handsome Corey Howard, a nondrinker, were lovers for three glorious weeks, a time when Corey pumped Adam dry about his life while spilling nothing about himself. Corey breaks off their bond, seemingly over Adam's habits, then disappears. He leaves behind his clothes, wallet, car keys, and the car itself. Has he become a victim of the West Hollywood Slasher? Three other handsome gays have vanished in the same way, leaving behind their wallets, car keys, and apartments-and the police have done nothing! Adam's decision to dig into the story leads him to gay hangouts, notorious pimps, and at last to the straight detective novelist James Wilton, Rice's best character ever (he should be played by Michael Gambon). Wilton hires Adam as an investigator, Glitz having fired him, and sends him out to look into the story of a married but gay and closeted marine helicopter pilot who may have killed himself-and three other marines, by plunging his copter into the bay-because of a video secretly made of him. Could this story be as big as the Black Dahlia? When Adam brings back evidence bit by bit, the all-knowing Wilton shrinks it to size but soars with mastery of motives. Things will lead to avigilante who blows up Mexican meth factories and feeds underage kids to a pedophile ring. Endless exposition masked as dialogue, though, makes interest fade. Author tour. Agent: Lynn Nesbit/Janklow & Nesbit
From the Publisher
"Richly painted, viciously paced.... Rice skillfully reveals a labyrinth of deadly secrets and horrifying surprises." — Gregg Hurwitz, bestselling author of The Crime Writer

"Stealthy as a desert wind and as deadly as a knife." — Lee Child

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401397555
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 hours
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 5.18 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Rice

Born in San Francisco and raised in New Orleans from the age of ten, Christopher Rice published four New York Times bestsellers, received a Lambda Literary Award, and was declared one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive, all by the age of thirty. His debut novel, A Density of Souls, was greeted with a landslide of media attention, much of it an offshoot of his mother’s fame as a legendary vampire chronicler. His supernatural thriller The Heavens Rise was a Bram Stoker Award nominee. The InsightOut Book Club selected his book Blind Fall as a best novel of 2008. In addition, his noir thriller Light Before Day was hailed as a “book of the year” by Lee Child. He has served as a contributing columnist to The Advocate and has been published in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Salon.com. His short fiction has been featured in the anthologies Thriller and Los Angeles Noir.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 20, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely brilliant!  This novel takes several turns that are n

    Absolutely brilliant!  This novel takes several turns that are not only unexpected, but thought provoking.  I guarantee the reader will be entranced by the first page and left breathless as they uncover Rice's tale piece by horrifyingly addictive piece

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2010

    Murder Mystery with a twist

    Christopher Rice has woven a tightly nuanced murder-mystery plot with, for the most part, very believable characters. Just when I thought I had it figured out, he gave it just the right twist to make me rethink the remaining cast of characters. Mr. Rice has developed his talented and thoughtful main character and his richly diverse LA stomping grounds enough to work them both into a mystery series.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    Slow starting but necessary for such a complex plot

    Somewhat different from my usual reading list, but very entertaining after getting through the slow moving beginning. The plot was complex enough to keep me interested then the story took flight.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Light Before Day

    Coming soon.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good Story

    I love the way Christopher Rice writes and develops his characters however, I felt this book was slow and a little drawn out.

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  • Posted June 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An interesting read

    This is the first Christopher Rice book I've read. As I started it, I had no idea what to expect, but very quickly found myself thoroughly engaged. It's not a fast read; there were several times that I found myself getting confused with all of the different plot twists and had to go back and re-read certain passages. Still though, it was a very inventive and well-executed story. I'm not a literary snob, so my criteria for good books are simple: Is the plot interesting? Can I "see" the characters and scenes? Is the dialogue realistic and believable? Are the characters' actions and decisions realistic? For all of these questions, the answer was yes! Well done, Mr. Rice. I'm definitely going to check out some of your other works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

    Don't Read it!

    Christopher Rice has a clumsy writing style and no character development. His plots are predictable and boring. Don't waist your time with any Christopher Rice novel, trust me I unfortunately read three of them for a class at my university.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    The best of his first three works!

    Much better than his second, this story line never slows down. There are surprises every twenty pages or so that change the direction of the story. And the intensity of some of his scenes! I felt like I was watching from a corner. Also, he is more direct in his character development and plot than in his earlier works. Certain phrases just jumped out of the blue in their descriptive nature and in their humor.

    His first book was very good. This work is great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2007

    Good, but definitely not his best

    Good, definitely not his best. That title is still held by 'A Density of Souls.' I still enjoyed this book. I thought it was good, different/original plot, with cool twists, but it still doesnt hold a candle to his first novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2007

    not his best

    i was a little disappointed in this one. his book Density of Souls was so great and personally my favorite.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2006

    The worst of his work

    I'm a big fan of Christopher Rice I finished both his other books in a matter of days. Within 150 pages of Light Before Day, I was ready to put it down and not finish. His characters all run together, since they share so many base characteristics. Rice adds new characters so quickly it is impossible to understand what information they're giving, or to remember where the other characters fit into the story. Rather than portraying his gay characters as equal to the other characters, the homosexuals in this novel are painted as drug addicts, sexaholics, and generally bad people. The only thing that got me through the book was hope that it would all be explained clearly in the end. Fans of Christopher Rice: you'll be disappointed. Anybody else: read his other work first.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2005

    Nightmare before Slumber

    While I was thrilled to see that Chris had published yet another gay mystery, I was shocked when I finally but it down. Definitely not one of his best. While the idea and beginning were intralling, the lack of character complexity, ever twisting plot tricks, and rushed prose, forces the reader to assume that, like most of the characters, s/he is in a drug induced nightmare. While the book as a whole is likened to its characters by being shallow and without a soul, the sad fact remains that the portrayals aren't far from the truth of West Hollywood 'queens'. For this realism of life, I did enjoy parts of the books, but would definitely not place it at the top or middle of the ability of the author. It feels at times as if Chris is purposefully trying to rush the reader along, by laying all possible scenarios out, rather than letting the reader puzzle out the truth. I do have to give just credit, however, the underlying ideas, the base movtivations, and the ultimate progression are wonderful, as usual for Mr. Rice however, it seems that yet again, another author races to the publisher with an incomplete and underdeveloped manuscript. Maybe if the author had sat on this idea for another year, the development would have fully bloomed. A Definite read, but only for true fans of the author or the genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2005

    Third is a charm!!!!!

    I loved this book it wasn't as good as the previous two but it kept my attention!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2005

    Good Book

    Very good book. Unexpected and sharp, yet filled with homosexuals. It is A Destiny of Souls tainted with mystery, but done pretty well. Not his best, but definitely a good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2005

    A Sad Decline

    Sometimes your darkness and your pain are real gifts. That certainly has been true for the Rice family over the last thirty years. All three of them have produced their best artistic works when writing honestly from whatever is tormenting them. That is true for the early vampire novels of Chris's mother Anne, The Radiance of Pigs by Chris's late father Stan, and Chris's first novel A Density of Souls. Now, Chris's mom identifies with Catholic saints in the place of her undead vampires - and paradoxically her novels have become lifeless and sterile. Chris's father's search for identity in his early poetry (the precursor of Chris's) became moot in the 40 day flood of his wife's financial success. And like his parents, Chris has lost what gave him authenticity in his writing. When Chris wrote Density he was writing from his own agonizing but exciting experience as a young man in New Orleans searching for sexual identity. It was authentic - you read because you wanted to go along on his quest. This novel, on the other hand, tries old worn-out formulas in a cliche driven, superficial and ultimately boring world of West Hollywood - and you wonder why you are still reading. In Density, you could find Chris's anguish - real human feeling - inside lines of his prose like you were sticking your finger in an electrical socket. Here, you just get teh sense that Chris really doesn't konw what to do with his life (hence the ignoble aimlessness of every character in this novel), and that he harbors deep loathing (or fear maybe?) for the men of West Hollywood (hence the shallowness and inevitable destruction that characterizes every plotline). A truly revealing novel would go beneath the surface of the drugs and sex and search for what makes these men tick. Why don't they find true love? Why are they so self-destructive? All Chris accomplishes to communicate in this novel is that he really doesn't know. In fact, he doesn't seem to really care. On the surface the book would probably get an A in a screen-writing styled writing seminar. Chris obviously possesses the technical secrets of the pulp novelist. But - like a melodramatic performance of some American Idol finalist - it lacks passion and meaning. Buy this book if you are narcissistic and like disappointment. Otherwise, wait for something real to happen in Chris's life, and for him to write about it. But don't hold your breath.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    Still A Fan

    Not as great as the two previous books, but I still enjoyed this novel and its mystery, and I look forward to the next one.

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    Posted April 23, 2009

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    Posted December 3, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

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