Verdict: MADE IN L.A.: STORIES ROOTED IN THE CITY OF ANGELS is a gift to short story lovers. The themes of the stories are universal, yet, when set in Los Angeles, each is infused with a pathos that can only come in a city that encourages dreams only to break them. Many are excellent, and all are worth reading.
Eleven stories coalesce in MADE IN L.A.: STORIES ROOTED IN THE CITY OF ANGELS to reveal the haunting sadness behind the glitter of Los Angeles. From the aliens in “Endless Summer” by Jude-Marie Green to the demons of “Salt in the Hell Mouth” by Cody Sisco, genres intersect with the purpose of filling in the shallowness that inhabits the city.
The stories, all written by L.A.-based authors, are marked with iconic touchstones, including surfers, movie stars and the Hollywood Hills. But they twist the view, delighting readers with intriguing plots that give a different view of the City of Angels. The ghosts that inhabit “No Vacancy” by Bonnie Randall and “Dry Bones” by Dario Ciriello move through time to remind readers of L.A.’s eccentric souls. Both bring the occult alive, allowing the past to shape the present, just as the glittery history of L.A. infects the lives of the dreamers who plant themselves in the city’s myths.
“Endless Summer” unwinds an alien’s love for surf music. It’s a sparse, interior story about the wistfulness of love set within the beauty of L.A.’s coastline. In “Between Broken Pieces,” author Allison Rose dissects ambition through the lives intersecting with beautiful movie star Mallory Braun. Mallory suffers the disorientation of fame, and her tragic attempt at self-preservation upends the smugness of those in her orbit.
The imaginative and taut “Unquiet Baggage” by Sisco lays bare a violent ending to love. Yet, perhaps “Dry Bones,” a story centered by L.A.’s history of the occult and mysticism, pleases the most. A marriage undone by an apparition told through the eyes of a couple losing their connection to each other. The writing sizzles with love, desperation and resignation.
Sisco, Rose, Lorino, and Ciriello, working collectively as the “Made in L.A.” indie author co-op, edit the selection of stories, and their choices underscore L.A.’s diverse culture. Characters cross the spectrum, from the marginalized to the famous. They weave through the map of L.A., showing the reader gullibility, hope, broken people and shattered lives.
MADE IN L.A.: STORIES ROOTED IN THE CITY OF ANGELS is a gift to short story lovers. The themes of the stories are universal, yet, when set in Los Angeles, each is infused with a pathos that can only come in a city that encourages dreams only to break them. Many are excellent, and all are worth reading.
~Greg Rideout for IndieReader