I can see why this is known to be Christopher Rice's most controversial novel to date. Light Before Day is part detective novel, part thriller, and aI can see why this is known to be Christopher Rice's most controversial novel to date. Light Before Day is part detective novel, part thriller, and a definite sneaky expose on the sordid past (and present) of sexual predators in Hollywood. Particularly sexual predators who prey on young men.
The novel follows Adam Murphy, a young gay man struggling with alcohol dependency, as he tries to prove his salt as an investigative journalist amid the glitz, glamour, and alcohol and drug drenched streets of Hollywood. Through luck and connections with just the right number of scumbags, Adam finds himself embroiled in a massive conspiracy relating to missing gay men, murder, and a child porn ring. The book explores this Hollywood/LA world that everyone kind of knows is grimy and sleazy, but becomes even more so as Adam uncovers more about the people he has been surrounded by.
This plot starts out intriguing and suspenseful before eventually becoming over the top in terms of twists and turns. There were like three climaxes, I swear (heh heh heh). But that aside, I liked it. It was dated but noir, exploited stereotypes and revealed them to sometimes be unfortunate realities, and that is why I think this book was so controversial.
There are a lot of drugs in this book, a lot of star struck twinks and sugar daddies, sex-fueled pool parties, air-headed wannabes, and there are also incredibly rich men who spend their time beta programming young men or outright raping little boys. No one wants to hear about a man who identifies as gay being a sex offender. No one wants to hear about there being an entire ring of these wealthy, rich, elites who get off on raping kids, desperate young men who want to make it in Hollywood, and assaulting guys that are blackout drunk.
The blackout is practically a recurring character in this drama, and there's a reason for that. A bad reason that I know a lot about from personal experience, and hit home when the fear of wondering what happened in that void, or being told what happened by a gleeful observer, is recounted by Adam in Light Before Day.
I can see why some people would find the book offensive. He's making it seem like all gay men are [fill in the blank], but there is no denying that Hollywood is shady and full of drugs and alcohol. There is also no denying that it's full of powerful men who abuse hopeful young women, and powerful men who also prey on hopeful young men. One of the clever things about Light Before Day is that it features a veteran crime author who is helping Adam on his quest, and that writer is known for writing novels about real crime stories that were ignored or abandoned by mainstream media or the authorities. It's not clever because that's a genius twist, it's clever because I suspect that character is known for doing exactly what Christopher Rice was doing with this novel.
The characters of Scott Koffler, Billy Hatfill, and Joseph Spinotta in particular are reminiscent of real Hollywood players of the past and present who have been accused and convicted of raping young men and boys. Joseph is a man who became rich during the dot-com explosion due to a startup website that was supposed to "make television obsolete", spent a lot of the production time hosting lavish pool parties where young boys (scouted by his henchmen) were drugged and raped, and launched with a fizzle before Spinotta fled Hollywood with all the money. The story is eerily similar to the real story of Hollywood sex offender Marc Collins-Rector who ALSO had a internet company that was supposed to revolutionize the Internet and TV during the dot-com boom, who ALSO threw lavish pool parties where boys were said to be raped, and who ALSO consorted with various shady individuals who were accused of the same. And he also fled after the site failed and the convictions landed, and went into hiding. Spinotta's methods are also eerily similar to the methods alleged to be used by Bryan Singer when it comes to using henchmen to scout and lure young men** to his fancy parties.
Charges of rape against Singer were recently dropped, but the fact that there are startling similarities between those recent accusations and a novel that was penned a decade ago beg the question of how much of this shit really goes on in Hollywood and how much of it is an open secret? Of course no one wants to assume the powerful gay men in Hollywood are all pedos and rapists, but people have long ago accepted that women are regularly abused in the film industry so I think it's not hard to believe that rich people with power are capable of being fucked up and depraved no matter which way they swing.
So, I give it four stars because of engagement value, hilarious one-liners, poignancy that comes out of nowhere but hit me like a brick in the head, and because I really do suspect that this was Rice's way of talking about something that is usually hush hush.
**Yes, I am aware that Defamer/Gawker is not exactly a super reputable source of news, but Google is ur frend. All the info is out there in various places.
I don't know if I'm really going to read this. Namely because I'm not paying $11 for a fucking 200 page novella thing no matter how much I dig RothfusI don't know if I'm really going to read this. Namely because I'm not paying $11 for a fucking 200 page novella thing no matter how much I dig Rothfuss' writing. I might just settle for scrolling through the reviews of angry, entitled readers who think Patrick Rothfuss is their bitch....more