The Platinum Loop: A Novel
Upaya House (2011)
Reviewed by Amanda Wesley for Reader Views (9/11)
In the fall of 1973, Floyd Manning finds himself scanning the view of the Vegas underbelly from his hotel balcony, upside-down and in the clutches of a Texan named Billy Bob – all of this over a pair of Frank Sinatra’s dice. Floyd doesn’t have much time to think about his next move as he is plunging headlong into a dumpster four stories below.
Meanwhile, Gene Hoffman, a low budget movie producer, is leaving a table that now has all of his money and the last of his luck. While trying to figure out where he is going to find the money for his next film, the massive Texans barrel into him and out the door in search of the unfinished job they just dropped. Gene follows them out and soon saves a broken and bloody Floyd. This is where the unlikely partnership of Floyd and Gene starts.
In a diner down the road, Floyd explains to Gene that he sells movie star memorabilia and that his next job is going to be the quickest and easiest money he has ever earned. Floyd tells him about a little stag film that wouldn’t be much of anything, except for the leading role is one of the biggest bombshell actresses ever. A chain of guards, stars, presidents, and this movie is known as “The Platinum Loop.” Gene leaves Floyd thinking he is crazy and has a death wish.
Gene returns to his hotel room to find out that his past has finally caught up with him in the form of a private investigator. With no other options, he seeks out Floyd and sets out on a journey that should lead to the easiest money either man has ever made.
Man plans, God laughs. From the twinkling lights of Las Vegas to flashy Hollywood and then in the filthy streets of Tijuana, Floyd and Gene run into more trouble then any two men ever should. With a cast of characters that are as colorful as the neon lights, I couldn’t wait to see what kind of mayhem was lurking on the next page. Austin Williams has done a great job of delivering tons of action with a heavy dose of thrill that it was easy to get lost in the gritty world of 1973 as he has presented it. With that being said, I wasn’t even alive in 1973 so some of the material in this book, such as the pop culture references, will be lost on the younger generations. As a reader, I can find such dated jokes and ideas either distracting or as an enhancement to the authenticity of a period piece. Fortunately, “The Platinum Loop” had such a strong plot that I could overlook most of it and just enjoy the ride.
I would go as far to say that anyone who enjoyed Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” would like Austin Williams’ “The Platinum Loop” as well. It was dark, funny, and fast paced, everything I love in a good action book.