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    Review of THE CUTTING ROOM by Laurence Klavan

    Ballantine Books, February 2004

    When a fellow movie trivia buff tells Roy Milano he's found the holy grail of film--the original director's cut of Orson Welles's Magnificent Ambersons, Roy can hardly wait to see the screening. But when he arrives at his friends house, he finds the movie gone and his friend murdered. Now Roy sets out on a mission--to find the movie and see it for himself. If he can help find the actual killer, so much the better. Working his way through the slightly weird clan of fellow trivia buffs, and soon joined by one of the rare attractive females in the group, Roy heads to Hollywood, Spain, and Boston in search of the elusive movie.

    It doesn't take Roy long to realize that he's onto something major. He seems to run into fists at least as often as clues, but he also finds people who think he knows more than he does--and who are willing to give him money to help them find what they want. Because outside of the narrow world of old-film cultists, the Magnificent Ambersons is simply another ancient flick. Roy's single-minded obsession nearly gets him killed--which makes him better off than most of the people he comes in contact with. Eventually Roy tracks down the movie, but having it only increases the danger.

    Author Laurence Klavan dishes up an over-the-top adventure with an unlikely trivia-nerd hero who, nevertheless, manages to be sympathetic and even get his share of the girls. Fast-paced action, badly flawed characters, and America's obsession with the movie industry provide plenty of reader interest. Klavan's high-quality writing held my interest and kept me turning the pages--I read the entire book in one sitting. The twist at the end worked for me--adding to the emotional impact of a fine novel.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 5/01/04

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