I want to start this review by saying that I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book for free. I got it really early but only just now finishing it. Through a combination of personal issues and wanting to savor Preston’s prose. This was my first foray into the work of Preston Fassel, and it will not be my last.
The tale he weaves of Andy Lew and journey through 1970s New York, specifically on the titular street. We learn that Andy is not a great guy, which is a bit of an understatement, and that’s one of the first things we learn about him. The other thing we learn quickly is that he’s a projectionist, the only projectionist for the Colossus theater. We quickly learn that Andy’s personality is abrasive, and we learn that he’s an addict. What all he’s addicted to is varied and surprising.
There are several scenes that have such a clear image, thanks to Preston’s prose. A personal favorite moment came early in the climax of the book. Without giving too much away, the inclusion of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” made it materialize in my mind clearly. To continue to gush about the prose throughout Beast of 42nd Street you feel how grimy the setting is.
I know that this won’t be a book for everyone. Being surrounded by not only terrible people but also that amount of grime will not be something everyone will enjoy. Those that can will be in for an interesting journey through the world of 1970s 42nd street theaters. It’s coming out soon through Cemetery Dance Publishing. I give Beasts of 42nd Street 8 movie reels out of 10.