Altman, Highsmith, and the Torah
Once dubbed a "sadistic moralist" by Newsweek, Michael Tolkin has been spinning tales about the ethically challenged in film (Deep Impact, The New Age, and The Rapture) and on the page (Among the Dead and Under Radar) for the past twenty years. But it was his memorable debut novel, The Player (1988), which he adapted for the screen with Robert Altman in 1992, that put him on the literary map. The eponymous player is Griffin Mill, a soon-to-be-fired studio executive who turns to murder after a frustrated, unproduced screenwriter starts sending him anonymous, threatening postcards. In a writerly manipulation worthy of Patricia Highsmith, the reader hopes Griffin not only gets away with murder but wins the dead man's girl. The Player garnered Tolkin literary and screenplay awards and won a Golden Globe for best picture.
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