The Invention of Sound

Grand Central. Sept. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781538718001. $27.
A tragedy at the Academy Awards is the central event of this sardonically sinister Hollywood tale. Mitzi Ives is a sound engineer whose specialty is creating the most powerful and realistic screams for the movies and TV—effects she obtains by actually murdering the victims. Gates Foster’s daughter, Lucinda, disappeared years earlier and has never been found, and he now makes an avocation of tracking child molesters. Blush Gentry is a B movie actress trying to rekindle her career. Gates hears Lucinda’s voice in a horror film in which Blush stars, and plans to kidnap her at a comic con where she’s appearing, a move she happily abets. The pair hole up in Blush’s now-foreclosed mansion, and Gates learns that Mitzi’s studio is the source of the scream. Mitzi, meanwhile, has recorded a scream with an acoustic resonance that has caused two theaters to crumble, killing the patrons inside. And now the scream is to be played at the Academy Awards.
VERDICT Combining straight narrative with excerpts from Blush’s manuscript, Oscarpocalypse Now, Palahniuk’s (Adjustment Day) novel undergirds the ordinary reality of movie production with a horror movie universe possessing curiously biblical overtones, a world where justice ultimately prevails
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