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Angel's Gate: A Shortcut Man Novel Hardcover – February 26, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hollywood was never so deliriously debauched as it is in Sturges’ latest Shortcut Man novel. From an opening scene that echoes the Tinsel Town melodrama, The Bad and the Beautiful, to a curiously sentimental epilogue, Sturges lays on the action, the emotion, the violence, the twisted sex, and the black comedy with an oversize trowel, but somehow, it all works splendidly. Dick Henry is the Shortcut Man, a fixer who always finds the most unencumbered route from problem to solution. This time, though, he’s awash in encumbrances. It all starts when a movie mogul, who keeps a harem of starlets, gives his kinky director a solid gold gun, and the director uses said gun to abuse one of the mogul’s starlets in a particularly unsavory fashion. Meanwhile, the Shortcut Man and the housemother to the harem attempt to sort it all out. The violence-fueled comic crime novel is harder to get right than it looks—to parody over-the-top melodrama is to risk losing hold of your narrative as it sails over its own top—but Sturges never loses control. Think the Marx Brothers with blood, sex, and, shockingly, a hint or two of genuine human feeling. --Bill Ott

About the Author

p.g. sturges was born in 1953 in Hollywood, California. Punctuated by fitful interludes of school, he has subsequently occupied himself as a submarine sailor, a dimensional metrologist, a Christmas tree farmer, an optical metrologist, a musician, a songwriter, an author, a playwright, and a screenwriter.  

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Product Details

  • Series: Shortcut Man
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st edition (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476712972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476712970
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I honestly had no idea what to expect as I began reading Angel's Gate by author p.g. sturges. Described as a kind of tongue-in-cheek, noir novel, I was initially attracted by the thought of a good mystery. Set in Los Angeles, the novel follows the story of shortcut man Dick Henry. A former cop, Henry now goes around town, "getting things done" for the illustrious characters who occupy Hollywood. We first gain a glimpse into his work when he retrieves a client's money from a fraudulent lawyer. After getting the money (and urinating in the fraudulent lawyer's ficus tree), Henry reveals himself to be a man with good intentions, even if his methods are unconventional.

The first few chapters are a bit confusing as each one introduces different characters and points of view. Fortunately, the setup is made clearer as each character develops into unique individuals. Without giving too much of the plot away, the novel basically follows Henry as he is thrust into a large conspiracy, lead by the womanizing head of a large movie studio. When one of the studio executives "stars" is brutally beaten and sexually abused, Henry is called in to help clean up the mess. All parties involved, including a disgruntled producer, violent director, former Nazi doctor, and a women who's job is to take care of all the studio head's women, struggle to keep the incident a secret, for fear of losing their jobs and plush Hollywood lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to.

I although it took a little while to get going, I ended up being totally engrossed in this novel. sturges writes with a confidence and lightness that really lends itself well to this kind of noir story. This novel definitely has some graphic scenes, but all are presented in a light-hearted way that never glorifies the violence. The strong characters, multiple intersecting plots, and sturge's sharp wit, all culminate into an entertaining and surprisingly satisfying read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his own inimitable style, Sturges's latest "Shortcut Man" novel has anti-hero Dick Henry again embroiled in Hollyweird shenanigans, this time involving murder and mayhem being visited upon the "starlets" being stabled for the personal pleasure of a billionaire movie mogul who bears a more than coincidental resemblance to Howard Hughes in his movie days.

Sturges's books are a not-so-guilty pleasure. He's the son of Golden Era movie director Preston Sturges, so his bona fides as a Hollyweird "insider" are pretty much above reproach. And he uses his knowledge to full effect in his "Shortcut Man" books.

This entry's a bit more complicated and convoluted than the prior two, but every bit as much fun. Babes and guns galore; celebrity misbehavin'; Henry's sense of justice as the knight in rusty armor, doing the "right thing" even when it costs him. Ya gotta love this guy!

Get it. Enjoy.
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Format: Hardcover
This is PG Sturges' third novel starring Dick Henry, the Shortcut Man. There is a film noir feel to this story involving Hollywood's seedier and sick side of the business. Even the hero and heroines are flawed and yet you root for them! I love the overall humor of these novels. Sturges doesn't take his characters too seriously and the humor helps one to get through the more graphic violent parts of the story. Great dialog and well written characters with a twisty plot that will keep you turning page after page. I know it's a good read when I can't put it down by 2am!

If you live here in L.A. you will relish all the local spots his characters visit and inhabit. And if you don't live here, know that all the locations he uses are real places in the city. From Canter's Deli, Wilshire Blvd, the La Brea Tar Pits, Pink's Hot Dogs to the art deco apartments. Very little is "thinly" disguised here. There are a few places that, as Ralph Story would say, "Aren't here anymore." Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset Blvd is now an Italian Restaurant (I know, redundant in L.A. - another Italian restaurant??) and the Dunkin' Donuts where Dick Henry's quest begins is now a Yum Yum Donuts.

Even if you haven't read his first two Dick Henry novels you won't have any trouble diving into this story. It starts with an innocuous search for a missing actress for Dick and leads to quite a cast of characters and more than Dick bargained for.

I love that his endings are never quite so pat. This one is no different. Not all the ends are tied up in a pretty little bow. I like ragged endings and this one comes through. I won't give you the synopsis, I see a few reviewers have done that. Why spoil the story for you?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderfully tangled plot involving the usual cast of incredibly well drawn and realistic human ciphers that the shortcut man battles. Sturges' witty and street wise protagonist is a little too much in the background compared to the previous novels this time around, but another incredibly enjoyable entry in this series.
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Format: Hardcover
Angel's Gate lampoons Hollywood and parodies crime fiction. If you're looking for a serious thriller, look elsewhere. Angel's Gate is more comedy than thriller. It isn't what you'd call deep literature, but it's funny and fast moving and written with an insightful eye for human foibles.

Any good Hollywood story has its share of obnoxious (and wealthy) producers and directors, as well as aspiring actresses who do their best work on their backs. So it is with Angel's Gate. A producer (Melvin Shea) plays the role of part-time pimp and drug dealer, supplying the roguish studio head (Howard Hogue) with cocaine to snort and actresses to shag, including Rhonda Carling. Badly behaving director Eli Navaria is notorious for abusing women. Devi Stanton, a tattoo-covered ex-Marine and current housemother at Ivanhoe Studios (Howard's place), is a less conventional character. She gets into a bit of trouble involving Melvin, Eli, and Rhonda, and needs the sort of cleanup help that only someone like the Shortcut Man can provide.

The novel's second plotline involves Ellen Arden, whose sister hasn't heard from her in years. The Shortcut Man is hired to find her. That plot thread appears early in the novel and then submerges until it resurfaces at the very end. Naturally, the two stories are connected in an unlikely way. The connection is a little too cute but it's not completely outrageous.

The Shortcut Man is Dick Henry, an ex-cop and "freelance opportunist" who specializes in solving problems in unconventional ways. Henry isn't the sort of morally stalwart hero who struggles to make ethical choices, although he occasionally struggles with just how unethical he wants to be. Should be earn a fee by blackmailing a bad guy? He has to think about that one.
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