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A Stranger Like You: A Novel Hardcover – August 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (August 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022007
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hollywood goes Hollyweird in this intense, provocative thriller about power, war, and the portrayal of women in film from Brundage (Somebody Else's Daughter). When Hedda Chase, a producer at Gladiator Films, rejects The Adjuster, a violently sexist movie script by insurance underwriter Hugh Waters, Hugh makes a special trip from his home in New Jersey to L.A. After locating where she lives, he confronts Hedda in her driveway and demands an explanation. Unhappy with her response, he drugs and stuffs Hedda in the trunk of her vintage BMW. He drives the car to an LAX parking lot and walks away. Hugh proceeds to befriend Hedda's boyfriend, married documentary filmmaker Tom Foster, and otherwise make a new life for himself, ditching his wife and job back in Jersey while Hedda barely clings to life. Brundage brilliantly shifts back and forth between Hugh, Hedda, and Denny, an injured Iraq war veteran, who plays a key role in Hedda's fate. The action culminates in illuminating revelations about the intersection of theater with reality.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

When a production company buys Hugh Waters’ film script, the insurance underwriter envisions a new life for himself as a Hollywood screenwriter. But his dreams are dashed when producer Hedda Chase drops the project, rejecting its premise: a man whose advances are rebuffed by his female coworker drugs the woman, puts her in the trunk of his car, and leaves the car to be stolen, with violent results. So Hugh replicates his script, leaving Hedda in the trunk of her own BMW at the airport; when the car is taken by Denny, an Iraq vet still suffering the aftereffects of the war, Hugh feels absolved of responsibility. Brundage changes both person and point of view in sections about Hedda, describing her innermost feelings about being a powerful female in a man’s world, and about Denny and his thoughts on the war. Insightful as these character studies are, they slow the thriller’s development and will appeal more to literary-fiction readers. Still, Brundage (Somebody Else’s Daughter, 2008) excels at pushing her characters to their limits and then reflecting on the consequences of their behavior. --Michele Leber

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Customer Reviews

This is a great book a real page turner I read it on a weekend!
Diane E. Leo
Her characters were real and, like real people, had both good and bad points that made it easy to invest your emotions and time into what happened to them.
Rick R. Reed
I was interested in the beginning, but then it just got too slow and quite frankly, I just lost interest.
M. Stacey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By barry TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Author Elizabeth Brundage definitely knows how to write. Her intelligence and skill with characters shines through on each page but sadly what this book is being marketed as is in no way what it actually is. You see the cover and read the synopsis on the back with the huge letters advertising "a taut and terrifying thriller." The story is described as being about a man Hugh Waters who had written a script that was accepted to be produced by Gladiator Films. When the executive producer who gave the go ahead is replaced by Hedda Chase she quickly cancels the production due to the over the top violence. Hugh decides to teach Hedda a lesson and flies to LA, stalks her and then kidnaps her and locks her in the truck of her car leaving it at the airport parking lot which was the plot of his script. He wants to prove to her that the actions were not implausible as she stated. All this does indeed occur at the beginning of the novel but it is not a starting point of a suspenseful, exciting thriller but rather a premise that leads to deep character studies of a handful of characters and what ends up being more of a thread among them all is not so much Hedda's kidnapping but rather the Iraqi war, the Islam people and the effect war and differing societies have on all people.

Author Brundage succeeds at a high level in her character studies. We have Hugh Waters, Hedda Chase, her boyfriend Tom Foster, the Islam exchange student Fatima and Iraqi war veteran Denny as the main characters. Sadly the way the novel is described and presented readers will be expecting the suspenseful read promised and many will be turned off totally by what is presented for it is not what they had been promised.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lori Caswell TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
It all starts with a Premise!!

Hugh Waters was so excited that he had sold his script. His whole life was about to change. Then a new person was put in charge so the contract was canceled. He believed the new person, Hedda Chase, was wrong when she said "NO!" to his project. So Hugh jumped on a plane to Los Angeles just to talk to her, make her see the script was good.

The conversation didn't go as planned when she declared his story unbelievable. Stressed to a breaking point, Hugh decided to reenact the terrifying ending using Miss Chase as the victim. Now her life hangs in the balance when Hugh plan takes an unplanned turn.

This is story about how far someone may go to fulfill his dreams. Set in the high pressure of life in Hollywood, it is a scary look at just how quickly things can go wrong. I would characterize the story as more intense psychological story than as a thriller.

The characters are uniquely fit together, sometimes at too much of a coincidence to ring true, but the characters themselves are believable with their many faults. Hugh is bored with his life, including both his job and his marriage. I felt sorry for his wife. The character of Hedda Chase is very unlikable so it takes a little work on the part of the reader to become concerned about her fate. The homeless girl showing up at weird times and places gave me pause. Bringing in a character, Denny, an Iraqi war vet adds a sense of current events to the story, but again his actions were confusing at times.

With all that said I did enjoy the book, it just was not what I expected. It was much more psychological as first Hugh definitely suffers a break from reality but it seems all the other characters do as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aderyn VINE VOICE on February 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A Stranger Like You is well written, and its premise of a frustrated screenwriter taking his revenge on the producer who turned him down by forcing her to live the plot she rejected as implausible is interesting and, I think, unique. However, the book was seriously diminished by the fact that I didn't like and could not sympathize with any of the characters.

Hugh Waters, the wannabe screenwriter, has left his wife (unbeknownst to her) and job to stake everything on his screenplay. Soon after arriving in Los Angeles, he begins stalking Hedda Chase, the screenwriter who pulled the plug on the film for which his screenplay had originally been accepted.

Hedda is an ambitious woman who has put everything into her career, enabling her to rise quickly but also requiring that she be willing to make hard, absolute decisions. When Hugh maneuvers his way into meeting her, she makes clear that there is no hope for his screenplay being produced.

Hedda's limited personal life does allow room for her boyfriend, Tom, if only he will commit to her and leave his wife. Hugh, in turn, after blithely informing his wife that he never plans to return from his "business trip," finds a girlfriend in Ida. One rung above him in the Hollywood food chain, she gets paid for her writing, although none of it ends up in production. Meanwhile, Daisy, a homeless rat fancier, and Denny, a petty criminal, find that they're right for one another.

All of the players finally connect when Hugh kidnaps Hedda and abandons her in the locked trunk of a car Denny steals. All of this takes more than half the book to happen, and if I'd found the characters more enjoyable, it would have been an intriguing half.
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