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North of Sunset Paperback – June 13, 2007

23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A page-turner and an example of an effective piece of storytelling that should be envied." -- Dogmatika

"A savage satire on the narcissism, emptiness and ugliness at the heart of the Hollywood dream." -- Tony O'Neill, author of Digging the Vein

"It reveals the zeitgeist of Los Angeles with the understanding, even compassion, of a native son." -- Cantara Christopher

"North of Sunset is an outstanding feat of storytelling that will gain a wide readership." -- Compulsive Reader

"The best Hollywood novel I've ever read, including my own." -- Richard Rushfield, author of On Spec

"Trust me when I say that this book is one you buy and one you keep." -- Poddy Mouth

About the Author

Henry Baum was born in New York City and grew up in Los Angeles. He is the author of the novel Oscar Caliber Gun, published as The Golden Calf in the U.K. and Je Suis Du Bon Côté in France. He also has a story out on Cloverfield Press. He's published work at Identity Theory, Storyglossia, Scarecrow, Dogmatika, Purple Prose, Les Episodes, and others. He lives and writes in L.A.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: (June 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1411656563
  • ISBN-13: 978-1411656567
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,687,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Henry Baum is the author of the novels The Golden Calf, North of Sunset, and The American Book of the Dead. He's published work with Identity Theory, Storyglossia, Scarecrow, Dogmatika, Purple Prose, 3:AM, Les Episodes, and others. He also writes and records music under the name Ash Tree. Born in New York City, raised in L.A., with stints in many other places, he now lives in Los Angeles with his wife.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Odyssey Reviews on October 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
North of Sunset is one of those books that sort of creeps up on you. You're reading along, and suddenly you realize that you are reading something amazingly well written. I really enjoy being wowed by a self-published book. It doesn't happen often, but when it happens, I want to make sure every book I come across that's of excellent quality gets the credit it deserves.

Michael Sennet is a world famous Hollywood actor. Gifted and gorgeous, women swoon over him, people automatically respect him; and he floats through his world as if everything orbits around him; and to some degree, it does. He's used to getting his way, so much so he is bored by it; Michael is not emotionally equipped to deal with anything disrupting his universe, with anyone telling him `no'. Two significant things happen to Michael... two things that come out of line with his universe; two things that bring Michael to cross paths with a cold-blooded killer, but only after becoming one himself.

Curt is the "Vanity Plate Killer". His M.O. is to go after people with vanity license plates. He has is own motivations, his own ideas. Curt is writing a book about his exploits. He's proud of his accomplishments. And then he discovers that someone is copycatting his killings. Michael and Curt are two characters from opposite, but oddly similar, pitiless worlds; both vain and superior, both essentially the same.

The characters of North of Sunset are extremely well portrayed; from Michael's quiet slip into insanity--his foibles and his flaws, to the studies of his wife Cheryl and her selfish blindness, to the careful descriptions of the other broken souls that populate Michael's unforgiving universe. There are no random, unmotivated actions in this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Reader Views on August 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (7/07)

Award-winning writer, Henry Baum, is destined to become a best selling author. His "North of Sunset" is brilliant storytelling. Baum has created a cast of characters that reveal insight into the emptiness of self-indulgence and the power of celebrity.

Narcissist Michael Sennet, successful Hollywood star, has made it to the top. He is the hero of the entire American movie-going public, and recognized and adulated everywhere. Michael, bored with his superstar status, has become an egomaniac, seeking new venues for his prowess.

Movie producer Martin Goldfarb, a man without a conscience, has become Michael's nemesis, denying his request to produce an upcoming movie. Cheryl Leigh, a beautiful actress, is married to Michael. Although star-struck by her husband, the marriage is a love - hate relationship. Frank Vicente, a paparazzi photographer, a thorn in the flesh for Michael, blackmails him.

Add to this cast Curt Knudsen, a serial killer, known as the Vanity Plate Killer; Curt has the citizens of Hollywood in a frightened frenzy. Curt is on a mission to alert the country of the danger of personal pride. He seeks out, and stalks, selected "vanity license plate" holders. Once familiar with their habits and daily patterns, he murders the victim and steals their vanity plate.

My favorite character in the story was Homicide Detective Harry Stein. He became cynical after a failed marriage and threw himself into his work. His primary escape from the pressures of police work was found in his love for movies. Suddenly faced with a twist in the direction of the case of the Vanity Plate Killer, Harry becomes disillusioned again. This time it is with movies and movie stars.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
"The best Hollywood novel I've read including my own" - Richard Rushfield, author of On Spec.

The Vanity Plate Killer (VPK) is stalking the streets of Los Angeles, murdering those denizens shallow enough to have a clever license plate. So far NVRLERN, BEMYGIRL, JESUS4U and four others have paid the price. In an interesting twist on the standard thriller that keeps the reader guessing until the penultimate pages, here the author reveals the killer and his motives in the third chapter.

We learn that the VPK is Curt Knudsen, a small-minded bigot from North Carolina, who moved to California in order to be at the heart of the beast. Along with several other members of the American Purity Church he aspires to cleanse Los Angeles of its sin. When church-sponsored cleansing activities turn out to be little more than conversations and the occasional picnic, Curt takes matters into his own hands.

The author also introduces several other key players, including Michael Sennet, a typically narcissistic celebrity. Michael has everything: too much money, a fast car, and any woman he wants at the snap of a finger. So what's next? Where can he go from here? Life is boring when it's handed out on a silver platter wrapped in gold leaf.

Celebrity gets into your head, it makes you feel better than everyone else, and makes you feel entitled to special treatment. So when things don't go your way, it's easy to snap, cause an accident, commit murder, whatever you feel like. In fact, why not use the M.O. of the Vanity Plate Killer to eliminate the obstacles in your path, surely the media will blame it on that other guy...

But what if that other guy doesn't like the direction you're taking his killings?
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