Reviews

“In this intense, provocative thriller about power, war, and the portrayal of women in film…. Brundage brilliantly shifts back and forth between Hugh, Hedda, and Denny, an injured Iraq war veteran, who plays a key role in Hedda’s fate. The action culminates in illuminating revelations about the intersection of theater with reality.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Hollywood looks a lot different from inside the trunk of a car, which is where Hedda Chase, “one of the most powerful women in town,” finds herself in Elizabeth Brundage’s painfully intimate novel of psychological suspense…about the limitations imposed on women in male-dominated societies. – Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

“Brundage excels at pushing her characters to their limits and then reflecting on the consequences of their behavior.” —Booklist

“Brundage is an astonishing writer — some passages are as claustrophobic as Chase’s imprisonment. This is the best novel I’ve read about the underbelly of Hollywood since “The Day of the Locust.” Grade: A” —Les Roberts, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“‘People are ugly and cruel. They are relentless. They will stop at nothing to get what they want.’” Like The Player, A Stranger Like You tests this hard-boiled lemma against the beautiful, nasty backdrop of Hollywood. Elizabeth Brundage delivers a pithy, ironic L.A. noir full of broken dreams and snappy repartee.” —Stewart O’Nan, author of Songs for the Missing

“Elizabeth Brundage is the real thing – an ambitious, serious novelist. Not for her, small bites. She uses Dickensian coincidence and the Russians’ sense of tragic destiny, all while observing modern life with a biting acuity and a throwaway hipness – and she dares you to care for characters whose self-contempt, earnest longings, and sad ingratiation are uncomfortably unalloyed. Brundage imbues Hollywood with a mystical super-reality, and scrubs it of anything stock. I couldn’t stop turning the pages of this action-packed, poetic, large-souled novel. And I closed it with a pounding heart.” —Sheila Weller, bestselling author of Girls Like Us

A Stranger Like You is a disturbingly believable thriller that catches you in a spider web of blind ambition, karma, and cinema dreams. Elizabeth Brundage perfectly captures the laid-back perniciousness of L.A. and the dark heart of the movie biz. It’s a 21st-century ‘noir’ that takes you on a journey that leaves you fearful for yourself. Brundage is a singular talent.” —Dirk Wittenborn, author of Pharmakon, or The Story of a Happy Family

“I’m pulling out all the best adjectives here: quirky, dark, full of unexpected surprises, and oh yes, a wonderful, thorny portrait of Hollywood. ” — Caroline Leavitt

“The characters are so well developed that their tragic struggles and emotional success resonates with you long after you close the book.” — Bookin’ with Bingo

“Elizabeth Brundage is a wonderful storyteller who digs into those secret little corners of lives and personalities and lays bare the thoughts and emotions that reside therein. You know the ones of which I’m speaking; I think we all lay awake at night at some point in our lives and think, Am I the only one who feels like this? Brundage not only exposes these but also sets them free. The result is a wild ride of first impression…

Brundage is not exactly known for her noir fiction, yet A Stranger Like You so perfectly captures the modern vacuum of the soul of southern California that it is worth rereading this work just to take notes on how she does it. I was reminded by turns of John Barth, Raymond Chandler and Walker Percy, though the book is like nothing any of those gentlemen wrote. No, this one is all Brundage, all the time. And that makes the wait between her books worth it.” — Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter

“Required reading.” — New York Post

A Stranger Like You operates at the highest tension point… But truer words were never spoken than when Hedda, at a critical point, wonders, ‘they say if you think about something enough you are actually channelling the universe to make it happen. What was once ‘too violent,’ it turns out, is nowhere near violent enough, as fantasy and reality blur even more.” — L.A. Times

“… the characterization was rich and the ideas that were explored were troubling and timely… there are certainly timely questions, sharp observations, and great writing. I will, without a doubt, continue to read every book Elizabeth Brundage writes.” — My Friend Amy

“Brundage’s novel is a brilliant surprise, the plot a perfect combination of pulp thriller and literary suspense. In Hollywood, where the manufacture of ideas is time-consuming and costly, the author’s damaged protagonists battle it out on the rain-soaked streets of Los Angeles, the hot, white sands of the Middle-East, and the barren deserts of Nevada, where the final devastating denouement comes at a violent price.” — Curled Up

“Reminiscent of the movie Crash, Brundage weaves narratives by Waters, Chase, a teenage runaway and a troubled young soldier just home from Iraq and working as a parking lot attendant at LAX. While you hold your breath waiting to find out Hedda’s fate, Hugh insinuates himself into her life and social circle…The novel explodes when the characters intersect in this terrific and quirky thriller. I’ll definitely be reading Brundage’s previous books.” — Monarch Book Reviews

“A Stranger Like You could not be better written; it is a showcase of clever plotting, memorable characters and dialogue that reads as if it were overheard.” — Jesse Kornbluth, Headbutler

“It’s a study in human nature, and you’ll have to work your way through it. But I guarantee, you’ll enjoy the ride. The characters — all who move masterfully through their arcs of development — will haunt you long after you finish A Stranger Like You.” — Murder By 4

“Yeah, I’m crushing because I’m deep in love with her novel set in Hollywood, but this is no chick lit, but a thriller with a wickedly delicious premise every writer can relate to. A Stranger Like You is what happens when a writer almost grabs the brass ring and it’s taken away from him.” — The Boomer Muse

The story is cleverly structured and the prose is oftentimes breathtaking and quite vivid (hardly a trademark of most thrillers). It’s dark, to be sure, but there are many illuminating passages to light the reader’s way, like this one: “Ten minutes to five and it’s still dark, as if the sky’s been filled in with pencil. A strange time, he thinks, neither day nor night, but somewhere in between. Like the way he feels in his life an awful lot of the time. Like he’s waiting, been waiting a long time.” — Bonnie Crisalli, Babes in Bookland

“While my husband has never been great with words, I am always looking for explanations of what it felt like to be blown up. Brundage’s description of Rios’ injury paints a vivid picture of that moment: “They tell you it’s going to hurt, but this was a medieval pain, this was the pain of the rack, stretching your flesh into something else. It was like nothing he‘d ever experienced. You couldn’t compare it to anything. Maybe like a train running into you. Something to that effect.” Rios ends up being the unlikely hero in the story. There were many times while reading Rios’ words, tears pricked my eyes. I could feel his pain, the feeling of being lost, not fitting in.” — Wife of a Wounded Soldier