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The Return of the Player


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More than a decade has passed since Griffin Mill's murderous ascent to Hollywood power in The Player. Now, with his career stalled and only $6 million in the bank, he is, by Hollywood standards, broke. The 12-year-old daughter he sired with his then mistress (now discontented wife), Lisa, is a brat who reverts to noxious baby talk when she doesn't get her way. His two older children hold him in cold contempt. He suffers from erectile dysfunction (his allergy to Viagra a wicked double whammy) and lusts after his ex-wife, June. In Griffin's mind, all of Western civilization is in decline, and his fantasies feature a Pacific atoll stocked with food and weapons. Step one in his plan to gain control hinges on leveraging the politics of elite Los Angeles private schools. (He commits manslaughter in the process.) Griffin's ploy snags the attention of a voracious entertainment magnate who plucks Mill from his stagnation and taunts him into concocting a multibillion-dollar idea. Mill's antiheroic effort to wring love and meaning from a loveless and meaningless life is heartfelt and cynical, resulting in a powerful dark comedy that transcends the shopworn genre of Hollywood satire. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

In this sequel to Tolkin's The Player-which Robert Altman adapted for the screen in 1992-Hollywood film exec Griffin Mill is back. He's gotten away with murder, but his career is stalled, and he's down to his last $6 million. In an effort to reinfuse his cash flow, he walks away from the studios and sells his soul to billionaire Phil Ginsberg. Meanwhile, he's impotent, his second marriage tanks, and he thinks he shouldn't have divorced his first wife to marry the girlfriend of his victim. And, as if his life isn't sufficiently dysfunctional, he's on the brink of being charged with another murder-an aging actor who was just another rung on Griffin's ladder back to financial moguldom. On the other hand, a really good business pitch to Ginsberg might just land him that private island and personal jet. Tolkin's understated style and over-the-top characters continue to amaze. Only in Hollywood could this bizarre tragicomedy seem even remotely plausible. Recommended for collections with readers lusting for the lives of the rich and famous. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/06.]-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Truly outrageous and actually endearing." -- Sherryl Connelly
"Mr. Tolkin remains Impressive as a scorched-earth social satirist." -- Janet Maslin
"The finest novel of Hollywood since The Last Tycoon. I loved It, and when I wasn't laughing aloud, I was rereading it, gasping at the athletics and soul of the thing." -- Jon Robin Baitz
"Poor Griffin Mill--once a mover--is down to his last six million dollars, and that isn't the worst of it in Tolkin's sharply observed sequel to The Player. Tolkin's till got a firm hold on Tinseltown's fluttery pulse."
"This crisp amorality tale boasts enviable verbal energy, thanks to a hectoring omniscient voice that blends the accents of an Old Testament prophet with those of a favor-currying film industry press agent. . . . This is vivid, nasty fun."
"Tolkin's not just a brilliant social satirist of Hollywood and the spiritual cravings of its sharkish millionaires; of chilling upper-echelon marriage, adultery, and child-rearing rites--he's also a rollicking and hilarious writer. Though just as you're admiring the hairpin turns of his sentences or his way with a barb, you realize you've left the comforts of satire and are in the midst of big existential questions and that Tolkin is a pretty serious guy." -- Laura Kipnis
"Tolkin's understated style and over-the-top characters continue to amaze."
"Mill's antiheroic effort to wring love and meaning from a loveless and meaningless life is heartfelt and cynical."
"Tolkin himself is a dying breed: among the last of those in Hollywood who move comfortably from big picture to small project, from screenwriting to directing to novel-writing." -- Matthew Debord
"Lively and freshly biting . . . The Return of the Player is classic satire . . . and with its gimiet eye on today's spiritual weariness and cash frenzy, is very much a novel of this time and moment." -- David Walton
"By far the widest-ranging novel of Tolkin's four-book career . . . The Return of the Player opens up the lives of the people surrounding Griffin , which creates Tolkin's most fully realized world yet." -- Todd Peterson
"How often do you have to pause, reduced to openmouthed wonder, when reading a novel: You can't believe how true it is, can't believe how funny, can't believe the story is headed where it seems to be heading, can't believe someone alive is actually pulling it off? Not often? Maybe never? Well, here it is. Tolkin did it." -- Stephen Gaghan

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