Thursday, June 11, 2015

Robert Ellis: CITY OF ECHOES, Booklist, Starred Review

Coming September 1, 2015
BOOKLIST, City of Echoes

"Know what a Chelsea Grin is? Readers who stay with Ellis’ powerhouse of a novel are going to find out, and their response to this incredible bit of cruelty is sure to be mixed. Most will side with Matt Jones, Ellis’ hard-bitten L.A. homicide detective, who thought he’d seen everything. Even he is 'unable to comprehend how anyone, no matter what their psychological issues . . . could do this to any living thing.'”

Jones is a bystander to the crime that ignites the plot: a teacher’s affair with his student that ends horribly. Why do the arresting officers start dying? Why do murders continue after the presumed killer is caught? Characters multiply and the plot grows ever more complex, but Ellis keeps everything in focus while building a staggering forward momentum. Then a tsunami of revelations and reversals begins, each put forth with stunning emotional force as everything Jones—and the reader—knew for sure is turned on its head. Awesome, as the kids say, but not necessarily right for late-night reading. Not with those Chelsea Grins."



Robert Ellis
I sensed that there was something different about CITY OF ECHOES while I was researching the novel. But it really hit home when I finished writing the second chapter. I knew that this one would be special. I also knew that meeting LAPD detective Matt Jones and the characters in this novel would be an experience I would never forget.

With a Starred Review from Booklist we're off to a great start. When the novel comes out this September, I hope you will love reading it as much as I did writing it. This is a thriller, pure and simple, a really scary story.

Sleep Loose,

Pre-order info:

Monday, June 8, 2015

Robert Ellis: Gene Hackman, an American Treasure

Robert Ellis
About a month ago we were tossing around posts in a tribute to Jackie Gleason and Vincent Gardenia for their extraordinary range as actors.

Over this past week I wound up seeing two of my very favorite films, two very different films: ENEMY OF THE STATE, a thriller directed by Tony Scott and starring Will Smith, Jon Voight, and Gene Hackman, and THE BIRDCAGE, a comedy classic directed by Mike Nichols and starring Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, and Gene Hackman.

Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest in The Birdcage
Is it me or is Gene Hackman getting the biggest ride, the best roles and having the most fun, of any actor in recent memory?

Gene Hackman's filmography reads like a list of the best in American cinema: French Connection, The Conversation, Young Frankenstein, A Bridge Too Far, Hoosiers, No Way Out, Mississippi Burning, Unforgiven, The Firm, Get Shorty, Absolute Power, and Runaway Jury -- to name just a few.
Hackman as Sen. Kevin Keeley in The Birdcage

Maybe the reason it looks like Hackman's having so much fun is that somehow over all these years he's never been typecast. How is this possible in a business where every other actor I can think of is typed after their very first role?

Gene Hackman as Edward Lyle in Enemy of the State
In Enemy of the State, a big time thriller that's never been more relevant than it is today, Hackman plays an ex-CIA agent who doesn't trust the system and is trying to live off the grid. In The Birdcage, he's an ultraconservative Senator with a daughter who wants to marry the son of a gay nightclub owner and becomes trapped inside the club by the media. His only way out is to dress up in drag and walk through the front door. In Runaway Jury he's a tough guy. (Warning ... The following sentence is a spoiler). In The Firm he's a man who sold his soul to the devil, but in the end, dies as a martyr filled with kindness and wisdom.
Hackman bugging a corrupt politician's hotel room

What a terrific week to stumble into two such great films. And it underlines something I've been thinking for a long time. Without Gene Hackman, a big chunk of great films would no longer be considered so great. I just feel lucky to have seen him at work.

Sleep Loose,