A Novel of Suspense
Following his critically acclaimed novel The Cutting Room, Laurence Klavan returns with The Shooting Script. Establishing shot: New York City, present day. Zoom in on a run-down tenement building, somewhere west of Times Square, the home of Roy Milano, a thirtyish, divorced typesetter who lives for the movies. In fact, by pursuing the legendary uncut print of Orson Welles’s The Magnificent Ambersons, Roy has become something of a minor celebrity among the fellow misfit film fanatics he caters to in his homemade newsletter, Trivial Man. But there’s nothing trivial when Roy’s old rival Abner Cooley shows up with a check in his hand and the words “Someone is trying to kill me” on his lips.
With his mother ailing, Roy needs the money as badly as Cooley needs someone to head off a trigger-happy stalker who’s determined to put both him and his controversial new screenplay into permanent turnaround. And though Roy does his best, like many a private eye before him, he quickly finds his head turned by an enticing distraction. Not a femme fatale, but a flick.
Roy is all but powerless to resist an e-mail from a mysterious fan that lures him with the promise of an elusive treasure as fiercely sought after by the celluloid cognoscenti as the Ark of the Covenant was by Indiana Jones. It’s Jerry Lewis' famous unreleased drama, The Day the Clown Cried. But when he arrives at a rendezvous too late to save a dying man, Roy realizes he’s stumbled into a dangerous race to possess a piece of cinema history. To catch up, he’ll have to match wits with a rogues’ gallery: a bored and bitter superstar comedian, a hot-shot producer turned drugged-out has-been, a ferocious German actor who likes to role-play off-camera, a mercurial director with a scary sense of humor, and a hard-bitten cop who’s mad about movies.
Meanwhile, Roy will be tempted by the wiles of three fetching females–and tormented by a single-minded psychopath with more faces than Lon Chaney. He’ll even go on location, pursuing and being pursued from the mansions of the Hamptons to the harbors of Maine, the boulevards of L.A. to the canals of Amsterdam. No one’s ever gone to this much trouble just to see a movie. But for Roy, the reward far outweighs the risk. And a chance to glimpse the Big Picture might just be worth coming face-to-face with the Big Sleep.