Reviews & Articles
Finding Tom Epperson’s work was a lesson in humility for me.
Murderati.com, September 16, 2008
Ridley Scott will produce period noir drama "The Kind One" for Warner Bros.
Story, set in 1930s Los Angeles, centers on an amnesiac who finds himself working for a mobster -- a killer given the nickname "the Kind One" -- and falling in love with the thug's girlfriend.
Scott and Jules Daly are producing for Scott Free; Ideaology's Sean Bailey ("Gone Baby Gone") is also producing.
"It's a world that Ridley has never touched before, so that's what drew him to the project," said Daly, who worked with Affleck when she produced "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." Scott's "Body of Lies," starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, is scheduled to be released by Warners in the fall.
Variety, April 16, 2008
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San Francisco Chronicle
The thing I most liked about Tom Epperson's first novel The Kind One (Thomson Gale; $25.95; 376 pages) is that its 1930s vibe is rooted in the story's dynamics, and not played merely for nostalgic window dressing. The author captures an era in which information was mostly conveyed face-to-face, through the telling of tales. This lends a melancholic authenticity to the book's episodic flow, in which all the characters relish reeling out their life stories.
San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2008
Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy
People sometimes ask me what I do for fun. I respond, in all sincerity, that watching movies is fun for me, although sometimes I do feel like a change of pace. I love listening to jazz, but my favorite pastime is reading. Several weeks ago a mutual friend arranged for me to receive an advance copy of a first novel by screenwriter Tom Epperson, whose name I knew from the screenplays he co-wrote with long-time partner Billy Bob Thornton (One False Move, A Simple Plan, The Gift). It’s called The Kind One (Gale Group, 2008) and it’s a thoroughly engaging, well-written novel about underworld figures in Los Angeles during the 1930s.
Epperson has done his homework, and captures the time and place exceedingly well, while drawing a variety of colorful characters. I curled up with the book several Sundays ago, and when I felt like taking a break, I picked up that morning’s issue of weekly Variety only to find an announcement that Casey Affleck has been signed to star in a movie version of the novel. I think he’ll be excellent in the role of a sensitive fellow whose amnesia prevents him from understanding how and why he fell in with a powerful, uncouth racketeer...
February 29, 2008
Los Angeles Times:
Tom Epperson, a longtime Hollywood screenwriter and even more longtime aspiring novelist, is a gentle man who's just published a brutal book. Epperson, who has a shy Arkansas twang and a slight hangdog manner, was talking on a recent afternoon about his 1930s-esque noir, "The Kind One," at Musso & Frank's in Hollywood, a place he loves for its literary ghosts.
Los Angeles Times, February 6, 2008
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Casey Affleck is attached to star in period noir drama "The Kind One," based on the just-published novel by Tom Epperson.
Variety, February 6, 2008
Los Angeles Times:
A movie-worthy gangster tale comes alive in 1930’s Los Angeles
...Although it may not be hard to imitate a genre’s cliches (they are, after all, what generate the genres), it’s difficult and exceedingly rare to transcend the cliches and produce a work that can appeal to readers who are not necessarily aficionados of the given genre. Epperson has managed the uncommon feat of writing a genre novel that can hold its own alongside (if not best) other works considered more literary. On every page, the language is crisp and fresh, the details sharp and keenly observed, the dialogue real, never forced. When Epperson elevates his prose to the lyrical, he reads like a streamlined Joseph Conrad:
As Landon drives through the desert, he tells us, “Soon it got hotter than I thought it possible to get. Heat mirages lay like puddles of water on the shimmering road. The landscape was unearthly and blasted-looking. What vegetation there was seemed primitive and savage: thorny cacti and twisted little trees with clumps of spiky leaves. You couldn’t imagine even bugs or lizards living out here. Off in the molten-blue distance, mountain ranges jutted up like giant slag heaps. It was hard to see how the pioneers in the olden days had ever made it.”
And the main characters, though based on recognizable crime novel prototypes, are larger than their origins: Their passions and habits, their pasts and their quirks, are unique, so much so that the tight plot becomes secondary to the characters themselves.
Epperson is the screenwriter (with Billy Bob Thornton) of such thrillers as “One False Move,” “The Gift” and “A Family Thing,” so it’s no surprise that “The Kind One” reads as if he wrote with a movie in mind. To be sure, it could be a fine film, but the novel itself is of the highest caliber in its genre and makes the leap into literature, as do the best works in all genres.
Eric Miles Williamson is the author of the novels “Two Up” and “East Bay Grease,” and the forthcoming nonfiction book, “Oakland, Jack London, and Me.” He teaches English in the Rio Grande Valley at the University of Texas-Pan American.
Publisher’s Weekly Review:
Screenwriter Epperson (coauthor of the script for One False Move) makes an effortless transition to novel writing with this hard-biting noir set in 1930s Los Angeles. While the contours of the plot will strike many as familiar, the author avoids clichés in his tale of Danny Landon, who works for vicious mobster Bud Seitz (aka “the Kind One”). Danny, who suffers from amnesia, only dimly recalls the events that led to his receiving the epithet “Two Gun Danny,” but finds the accounts he’s been given of his violent past at odds with his current revulsion for bloodshed. When Seitz, a mercurial figure with a hair-trigger temper, asks Landon to keep an eye on his current squeeze, Darla, the two men soon find themselves in conflict. With spare prose, Epperson presents Landon’s inner turmoil plausibly and manages to throw in an occasional turn of phrase that Raymond Chandler might have penned. ...It’s an impressive debut and deserves to be followed by more.
Publisher’s Weekly Review, October 1, 2007