The Fade Out, Act Two

Synopsis: BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS’ newest hit series, THE FADE OUT is an epic noir set in the world of noir itself, the backlots and bars of Hollywood at the end of its Golden Era. A movie stuck in endless reshoots, a writer damaged from the war and lost in the bottle, a dead movie star and the lookalike hired to replace her. Nothing is what it seems in the place where only lies are true.

The second act of BRUBAKER and PHILLIPS’ biggest hit ever begins with a bang! Someone knows who killed Valeria Sommers, but can our “heroes” find them without exposing themselves? And will their search lead them to answers they don’t want to find?

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The Fade Out, Act Two, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips 8.0

Brubaker’s got me hooked. Again.

In the second volume of ‘The Fade Out‘, while Charlie is still trying to figure out who’s behind Val’s murder, Gil is given a new lease on life, suddenly determined to take down the Hollywood establishment.

Coincidentally, Victory Pictures co-founder Al Kamp becomes a person of interest when he pops up in both Charlie and Gil’s lives: first during a strange encounter on a movie shoot and then during a gambling night.

He’s a tremendously seedy and corrupt individual, which leads me to believe that he’s merely a red herring. But he’s certainly adding piquant to the proceedings, though he remains in the background as a shadow figure.

But Gil makes Victor Thursby, another co-founder of Victory Pictures his target, stirring the pot in reckless ways. And, meanwhile, Charlie is getting involved with Val’s replacement, Maya, even though he knows better.

Then he finally meets the mysterious man he’d been seeking.

What I like about Brubaker’s style of writing is that, though the plot is relatively simple, not especially contrived, he layers it with subplots that make sense contextually – all of the characters buzzing around Charlie fuel them.

Everyone in this story is a flawed being who brings with him/her complications. Brubaker uses that to flesh out or sidetrack his story in a pretty organic fashion; at no point does the reader feel like they’re being strung along.

He’s also exceedingly proficient at getting into his characters’ heads, at revealing all of the frailties that make them real and the wonder that make them human. His skill at enriching the time spent with his characters is impressive.

Though we’re not significantly nearer to knowing what happened that fateful night, Brubaker’s story is engrossing and compelling. Of course, as a cinephile, I find the setting totally captivating – so perhaps I’m slightly biased

Still, if I had my hands on the next volume of ‘The Fade Out’, I would bury myself in it right away.

I’m hooked.

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