Remember my enthusiasm when I found out my favorite movie was first a book? Well, it finally came in at the library!
Plot: Laura Hunt’s mysterious death has shocked New York. The ambitious young woman has been found dead, shot in the face in her apartment. Lieutenant Detective Mark McPherson has been assigned to the case. As he uncovers more about Laura, he becomes increasingly obsessed with her. Soon he realizes he’s been seduced by a dead woman—or has he?
Thoughts: I love this movie. I could probably quote most of it. There is something about the scene where McPherson, played by Dana Andrews, is staring at the portrait of Laura and falling in love with her even though he thinks she is dead that wins my heart every time.
I set such high expectations on this book that I don’t think it ever could have lived up to them. It was a really good read and yet not quite what I hoped for. It was wonderfully written. I liked the changing viewpoints. I liked the story. The twists are good. Yet, it wasn’t the movie. The pacing felt off. Lines were delivered in different settings and certain, critical scenes from the movie are non-existent in the book.
However, separating the book from the movie…it was a solid read. It was one of the most enjoyable noir reads I’ve found in a long time. The author uses light and darkness, shadows and storms, flowers and foreshadowing, to highlight scenes and create atmosphere. There were many themes laced throughout the story. The romance was somewhat more believable than the movie (oops, not comparing those two anymore) and I thought the balance of the three suitors and what they represented to Laura was interesting. Laura herself is a very complicated character. We get glimpses of her from a few different perspectives and it is interesting to try and figure out what is false and what is real. Womanhood itself gets examined in this story. Is Laura a doll? Dame? Femme fatale? Society woman? Country girl? Are the women around her grasping, slutty, innocent, or confused? This isn’t so much a whodunnit as a examination of human character. I think that is why there is less “shock value” with the final twist at the end. The point isn’t so much “Who killed Laura?” as “Who was Laura?”
I liked the ending. It was somewhat different than the movie.
Overall, I would give the book a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed it and might have loved it if I didn’t know the movie so well.