Gould, Howard Michael. “Last Looks: A Novel”, Dutton, 2018.
A Rogue Thriller
“Last Looks” is a thriller that is sharp, fast moving and lots of fun. Howard Michael Gould introduces us to Charlie Waldo, an ex-detective who is a bit strange and very smart and hives us a lampooning look at Hollywood. I do not real a lot of thrillers and in order to keep me interested, they must catch me on the first page and “Last Looks” did just that.
Waldo was once a superstar on the Los Angeles police force but now he has chosen to live in solitude deep in the woods and totally determined to never own more than one hundred items of possession. Not only has he walked out on his career, he also left his girlfriend, Lorena and has chosen to live in self-imposed exile as a form of penance for a terrible mistake of a move on an old murder case. We shall see that this cannot last for long.
Alastair Pinch is one of the most difficult actors in Hollywood. He has had better days and that includes having once been a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Today he plays a “wise” Southern judge on a tacky network show. This is quite a comedown. Alastair also happens to be ridiculously wealthy, belligerent, and usually drunk. He found his wife dead on the living room floor and is unable to he remember what happened.
Waldo’s old girlfriend Lorena, draws him toward the case, and Alastair’s greedy network convinces Waldo to take it on. However, it has been such a long time away from both civilization and detective work, Waldo remains unsure plus there are many people want him gone. Now he must deal with complicated ego and deceit to either clear Alastair’s name or confirm his guilt.
The dialogue here is very sharp, there is a lot of intrigue and a fast moving plot that makes it a bit difficult to believe that this is a first thriller for writer Gould whose blend of humor and suspense is amazing. Eco-maniac Charlie Waldo is an eccentric and compelling hero and the story keeps you turning pages. It is a great summer read.