The lead-off story, "Red Light," is, as you can see from the cover above, an 1987 award-winning tale set San Francisco and not originally intended to be part of this LA-based collection. The central conceit - that fame devours - is certainly timeworn by today's paparazzi-dazzled media, but the carefully detailed setting and relationship between the photographer narrator and his long-lost love win out. I believe the story it's referencing is Robert Bloch's "The Model," or maybe Fritz Lieber's "The Girl with Hungry Eyes."
The grim sexual underbelly of Hollywood and fellows like Aleister Crowley form "Brass." It's always awkward learning about your parents' sex life. When you find out your father was part of a sybaritic cult then consorted with demons and now one may be after you in the form of a brilliant and gorgeous soulmate? Chilling. "Falling Man," despite its director main character and behind-the-scenes glimpses of TV production, which I usually like, unfortunately overstays its welcome at over 60 pages. "Pamela's Get" was just a little too oblique for me but has a nicely realistic depiction of female friendship at its core. "Monster Movies" sweetly finishes the collection and pays reverence to the child in the man, the one who worshiped at the late-night TV altar of The Mummy and The Creature but who may have lost his faith as an adult in the corporate world and happy-hour martini bars.
While it hits some false notes - particularly in its hyper-verbal dialogue, which is sometimes cringeworthy in its affectedness - and seems at times like it's perhaps just playing grown-up, Lost Angels is a worthy collection from the era; Schow's got a knack for realism as well as fantasy. Nothing really scary here, except for dreams deferred and hopes lost and loves betrayed. Nah, those things aren't scary at all.