The latest rousing tale of sex, sleaze, and salvation in the City of Angels, featuring Dick Henry, the Shortcut Man, by p. g. sturges, whom Michael Connelly calls "a worthy successor to Chandler." In Angel's Gate, Dick Henry is drawn into a case involving an aging but still amorous Los Angeles movie mogul named Howard Hogue, who keeps a stable of twenty-plus young starlets available for his highly ritualized and private attentions... Henry is retained by the sister of a young woman who has gone missing and soon he is becoming friendly with Devi Stanton, the housemother to the starlets. Despite Devi's morally questionable responsibilities, she is willing to help (and enjoy the company of) the Shortcut Man, a relationship that will be crucial to his survival. After Hogue's star director batters one of the starlets in a drug-fueled romp, Henry is drawn into a deeper mystery from years past involving a haunting death on a boat and a missing screenplay written by what appears to be a local homeless man. As he peels back layer upon layer of sordid Hollywood history, Dick Henry must contend with crazed drug dealers, Hogue's personal doctor, crooked cops, private security henchmen, and Hogue himself, who is so powerful and bunkered in his movie-biz millions that he is not intimidated by the ever-resourceful Henry. Amid a final showdown and genius plot twists, the Shortcut Man must outwit his opponents if he is to have any chance to survive.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I honestly had no idea what to expect as I began reading Angel's Gate by author p.g. sturges. Described as a kind of tongue-in-cheek, noir novel, I was initially attracted by the thought of a good mystery. Set in Los Angeles, the novel follows the story of shortcut man Dick Henry. A former cop, Henry now goes around town, "getting things done" for the illustrious characters who occupy Hollywood. We first gain a glimpse into his work when he retrieves a client's money from a fraudulent lawyer. After getting the money (and urinating in the fraudulent lawyer's ficus tree), Henry reveals himself to be a man with good intentions, even if his methods are unconventional. The first few chapters are a bit confusing as each one introduces different characters and points of view. Fortunately, the setup is made clearer as each character develops into unique individuals. Without giving too much of the plot away, the novel basically follows Henry as he is thrust into a large conspiracy, lead by the womanizing head of a large movie studio. When one of the studio executives "stars" is brutally beaten and sexually abused, Henry is called in to help clean up the mess. All parties involved, including a disgruntled producer, violent director, former Nazi doctor, and a women who's job is to take care of all the studio head's women, struggle to keep the incident a secret, for fear of losing their jobs and plush Hollywood lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to. I although it took a little while to get going, I ended up being totally engrossed in this novel. sturges writes with a confidence and lightness that really lends itself well to this kind of noir story. This novel definitely has some graphic scenes, but all are presented in a light-hearted way that never glorifies the violence. The strong characters, multiple intersecting plots, and sturge's sharp wit, all culminate into an entertaining and surprisingly satisfying read.