“Libling’s assured, quietly menacing debut [is] based on his World Fantasy Award–nominated novella of the same title. . . . Fans of Stand by Me and the like will find much to enjoy.” —Publishers Weekly
It’s the 1960s, and Gus Berry is coming of age in Trenton, a small town on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The place isn’t known for much—unless you count the menacing stray dogs, plant explosions, plane collisions, and regular drownings. The adults seem to take it all in stride, but Gus can’t shake the feeling of impending doom. His friend Annie Barker doesn’t share Gus’s dark thoughts; she believes in things. So Gus goes about his days, surviving school, trying to live up to his widowed mother’s expectations, and growing increasingly obsessed with movies and TV shows. Indeed, he scripts his life to make it way more exciting and adventurous than it actually is.
Gus is clearly a boy who wants things, which makes Jack Levin the perfect friend. He’s a local hero famous for finding stuff : a message in a bottle, a meteorite, a long-lost wedding ring. And when Jack makes his most mysterious discovery yet, Gus and Annie are drawn with him into an investigation of Trenton’s past. Guided by their curiosity, they soon uncover a malignant darkness behind the town’s senseless tragedies.
In Hollywood North, World Fantasy Award–nominated author Michael Libling “spins a tale of movies and memories, nightmares and nostalgia, with such a frightening secret at its core, that you’ll understand why, even though you can go home again, you might end up wishing you didn’t” (Ian Rogers, author of Every House Is Haunted).
“[A] fine first novel . . . Bradbury might have sketched out this mode in the darker parts of Dandelion Wine and the entirety of Something Wicked This Way Comes, but contemporary authors such as Libling are showing us refinements of sensibility and sense of wonder that the old Waukeganian never dreamed of.” —Locus