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Publisher's Summary

Toiling away amid the looming palm trees and decaying bungalows, a struggling young writer (who bears a strong resemblance to Ray Bradbury himself) spins fantastic stories from his fertile imagination upon his clacking typewriter. Trying not to miss his girlfriend, who is away studying in Mexico, the nameless writer steadily crafts his literary efforts - until strange things begin happening around him.
The writer first receives a series of peculiar phone calls, then finds clumps of seaweed on his doorstep. And, as the incidents escalate, his friends fall victim to a series of mysterious "accidents" - some of them fatal. Aided by Elmo Crumley, a savvy, street-smart detective, and a reclusive actress of yesteryear with an intense hunger for life, the wordsmith sets out to find the connection between the bizarre events and, in doing so, uncovers the truth about his own creative abilities.
©1985 Ray Bradbury (P)2010 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Larry on 04-28-12

Dark - Moody - Poetic - Noir - Mystery

To really appreciate this book you need to have grown up in Southern California in the 1950's when there were seedy amusement parks with rickety wooden roller coasters at the Sunset Pier, Venice Pier and Ocean Park Pier. This story is not typical Ray Bradbury in that it is not really his usual genre. However his poetic use of the English Language to give the feeling of an old black and white high contrast Noir mystery is unmatched.

There is a certain unreality that is present throughout which makes it seem like a fantasy but underneath it is a solid murder mystery. The characters are a mixture of Raymond Chandler, Charles Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe. While the storyline is solid, it obviously takes a back seat to the mood created by dark poetic language and the unique characters that Bradbury uses throughout. It is said that much of this novel is autobiographical and that the protagonist is really Bradbury himself. Frankly it doesn't matter. Overall this was a great listen. It literally sent me back in time; back to the days when there were roller coasters and seedy bars and tattoo parlors on wooden piers that have long ago been torn down or washed into the Pacific over time.

I wish Bradbury had written some more books like this one.

Peter Berkot did an excellent job of narrating.

5 stars.

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Pamela on 08-01-12

Twilight Zone memories

If you could sum up Death Is a Lonely Business in three words, what would they be?

Bleak, Gritty, dark

Who was your favorite character and why?

The blind guy who could smell the bad guy.

Which scene was your favorite?

When the main character sees the vast and strange collection of books.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Remember the Twilight Zone

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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