I got an uncorrected proof of Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey to review as part of the Amazon Vine programme, so here goes.
The book documents the lives of Los Angelenos and history of Los Angeles in a series of vignettes that happen in parallel. Without giving plot spoilers away the various stories told include an alcoholic vagrant trying to find redemption, a hedonistic film star, a Mexican-American domestic worker with self-image issues and the employer from hell and a pair of runaways from the Midwest trying to get by. Their lives are told in a empathetic way that keeps you gripped.
The star of the book in its horror and glory is the city of Los Angeles itself from its grime and traffic to the distinctive character and history of its neighbourhoods.
The book is ideal for commutes and tube journeys because of the short nature of the vignettes and the way Frey ends each section with enough tension to make you want to reach the next episode (rather like the old Buster Crabb performances as Flash Gordon in the 1930s film serial of the same name).
One unusual design touch the spine of the books dust jacket dispensed with the book title and author, instead just carrying the URI to the authors website.
I don’t know if this will make it on to the spine of the retail version as it could mess up the way retailers like Waterstones and Borders would display the book. More book reviews here.