Blonde Lightning by Terrill Lee Lankford

Blonde Lightning is TL Lankford’s follow up novel to Earthquake Weather. The setting is Hollywood during OJ Simpson’s low speed chase memorialized in our collective memory banks as a prelude to travesty. Mark Hayes has lost his job as a d-boy after the murder of his boss, but hopes to catch on with a low budget company making a film called Blonde Lightning.

The heart of the story becomes the making of the movie on a shoestring budget. Lankford makes skillful use of his knowledge of filmmaking to produce a tense and enjoyable ride, the kind of story that gathers force as it progresses. I’ll skip the plot details to avoid spoilers, but this novel delivers the goods with a resolution of the Mark Hayes story as a cautionary tale.

The story’s disfigured beauty provides Mark with a sembalnce of a love life as well as central metaphor for the author’s view of the movie business. The cast of secondary characters is excellent, made plausible by the world they inhabit. My only complaint is that the book felt short. Lankford’s guiding sense of understatement leads to a number of summary paragraphs, perhaps a vestige of his days writing coverage for screenplays. His passion for the subject prevails, making this his finest novel to date.

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