Monday, September 20, 2010

Falling Angel, by William Hjortsberg

(pb; 1978)

From the back cover:

"Louis Cyphre had a fiendish smile and flaunted some bizarre fetishes. So what. The fat price Cyphre was paying for a routine missing-persons assignment convinced Harry Angel to shake off his customary shivers about Cyphre's weird ways.

"But Harry's pay turned to blood as each of his leads dissolved into a dizzying nightmare of black magic and gory murders. And the more he sought the terrifying shadow of the long lost Johnny Favorite, the closer he came to chasing his own."


Set in 1959, Falling Angel is an original, über clever, supernaturally flavored private dick novel. It's tightly characterized and written, oozy and often bloody with neo-noir-esque shadows and characters who are cursed, but don't know it yet.

Falling Angel has one minor flaw. Hjortsberg, perhaps too clever for his own good, tips his hand a bit early on the final revelations of the book, at least for this (sometimes) sharp-eyed reader.

Despite this minor flaw, both noir/crime and horror aficionados should own this novel, because Falling Angel is a landmark crossover work.

The resulting film, retitled Angel Heart, graced stateside screens on March 6, 1987.

Mickey Rourke played Harry Angel. Robert DeNiro played Louis Cyphre. Lisa Bonet played Evangeline Proudfoot.

Charlotte Rampling played Margaret Krusemark. Stocker Fontelieu played Ethan Krusemark. Brownie McGhee played Toots Sweet. Michael Higgins played Dr. Fowler. Charles Gordone played Spider Simpson.

Dann Florek played Herman Winesapp. Pruitt Taylor Vince played Det. Deimos. Eliot Keener played Det. Sterne.

Alan Parker scripted and directed the film.


Jingle said...

amazing reflections.

Jingle said...

love books,
your review is very helpful!

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