When I read the review for Seth Greenland's Shining City in LA Magazine, I flagged the book squarely under the "Danielle Steele for middle-aged hipsters with a literary bent" genre. Which is to say I reserved it immediately at the LA Public Library site and was not entirely surprised to find myself 87th in the cue for one of the library's three copies.
What's not to love about the story of a floundering product manager, living in quiet desperation with his frigid wife and tweenage son in Van Nuys, who inherits (from his recently-deceased brother) a West Hollywood-based dry cleaning business … that turns out to be an escort service!
Hijinx ensue and everyone learns a little something about themselves, as Greenland turns some nice phrases and musters some above-average set-pieces.
It took me about five hours of reading time to consume the entire romp through the intersection of middle-class-striver Los Angeles County and cartoonish, seedy La La Land.
I'd recommend the book to any Angeleno looking for some light fictional fun that fuses the best of the time-honored "stait-laced-loser-redeemed-by-vice" narrative with a pinch of Updike, Chandler, Sinclair Lewis, and the Vivid Video scriptwriting staff.
As a bonus, here's Seth Greenland's (hilarious) "viral promotional video" for Shining City. Enjoy!
Did you like that one? There's another video called "Hooker Book Club" that's funny too.