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Light Before Day

Light Before Day

3.9 29
by Christopher Rice

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Adam Murphy wants to be a serious journalist. Unfortunately, he spends his days writing copy about underwear and abs for a gay lifestyle magazine. When a troubled young porn star brings him a tip about a recently deceased marine’s secret visit to an infamous pimp for underage boys, Adam is determined to break the story…until someone starts threatening


Adam Murphy wants to be a serious journalist. Unfortunately, he spends his days writing copy about underwear and abs for a gay lifestyle magazine. When a troubled young porn star brings him a tip about a recently deceased marine’s secret visit to an infamous pimp for underage boys, Adam is determined to break the story…until someone starts threatening his life.

Undeterred, Adam begins to unravel a deadly conspiracy involving runaway sugar daddies, salacious A-list parties, and three handsome young men who have vanished without a trace. Now he must enter the seedy underbelly of LA to find the truth behind their disappearance, as well as the disappearance of his ex-lover, Corey—who may have some deadly secrets of his own.

In this supercharged modern noir tale of sex, drugs, and revenge from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice, getting to the bottom of a scandalous story can be dangerous…if not downright fatal.

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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Amazon Publishing
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5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

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Meet the Author

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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Light Before Day 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
kittypunk1201 More than 1 year ago
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 More than 1 year ago
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.
shadowart More than 1 year ago
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.
bookwormmom4 More than 1 year ago
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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Brent_Stroth More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PTWilson-Indiana More than 1 year ago
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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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i was a little disappointed in this one. his book Density of Souls was so great and personally my favorite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book it wasn't as good as the previous two but it kept my attention!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.