Tom Langdon, a weary and cash-strapped journalist, was banned from flying in the U. S. when an overly probing search wand caused him to blow his top at LaGuardia Airport. Now, the train is his only option to get to Los Angeles for Christmas to be with his girlfriend. To finance the trip, he pitches a story about a train ride taken during Christmas ...
Tom Langdon, a weary and cash-strapped journalist, was banned from flying in the U. S. when an overly probing search wand caused him to blow his top at LaGuardia Airport. Now, the train is his only option to get to Los Angeles for Christmas to be with his girlfriend. To finance the trip, he pitches a story about a train ride taken during Christmas season to his ex-flame editor, Eleanor. Thereupon begins one of the most hilarious - and heartwarming - train rides ever. Along the way Tom encounters mechanical failures, derailments, and eccentric characters like Agnes Joe, who rides trains all the time, though no one knows why. There's also a mysterious passenger whom Tom suspects may be a fugitive, an avalanche that changes everyone's Christmas plans, unexpected romance, and a rekindling of holiday spirits. As the mighty Southwest Chief chugs along, Tom Langdon and his wonderful train adventure will have you laughing as you turn the pages. It will also reacquaint you with what makes Christmas truly special.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-01-06 Former globe-trotting journalist Tom Langdon, 41, boards the Capitol Limited to kill many birds with one stone: he's out to fulfill his old man's death wish, find himself, write a fluff piece for a woman's magazine and visit his voice-over actress girlfriend in L.A. (He's also on the train since he's been banned from flying in the U.S. for two years after a recent meltdown at LaGuardia.) The trip turns out to be a journey of the soul-though an innocuous and predictable one. Surprised to meet famous movie director Max Powers in transit, Tom's invited to team up on his idol's next film, but shocked when he learns the screenwriter is none other than his long-lost love, Eleanor Carter. Trading suspense for sentimentality, Baldacci (Last Man Standing; Total Control; etc.), dedicates his latest to "everyone who loves trains and holidays," and the polished unabridged audio production, perfect for a long family car trip, employs plenty of musical accompaniment and evocative sound effects, from bells and whistles to conductors' calls, to suit this intended tone. Baldacci's impressionistic prose and detailed descriptions of rail travel are nice, but what's more notable is the silky smooth narration of television producer, director and actor Matheson. His energetic, distinctive renditions of the author's quirky and humorous cast of characters-including a priest, a lawyer, a personal assistant, a tarot card reader and a singer-make up for Baldacci's silly plot twists of reunited lovers, a thief on board the train and the avalanche that has "everyone contemplating their demise." Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Forecasts, Oct. 7). (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2002-10-07 Recently, Baldacci has ventured with success beyond the thrillers that made his reputation, first in 2000 with the historical melodrama Wish You Well, then earlier this year with the SF mystery novella The Mighty Johns. Here's another stretch, one that he performs with good spirit, a lot of humor and only a bit of strain a Christmas charmer set aboard a cross-country train. Tom Langdon's life hasn't been the same since his all-time love, Eleanor Carter, left him years ago while the two were hotshot journalists, and since he's quit serious reporting for writing fluff. Banned from flying for a year because of an air rage incident, he's decided to write about riding the rails over the Christmas holidays, planning to link up with his erstwhile girlfriend, a Hollywood star, in L.A. Aboard the Capitol Limited, running from D.C. to Chicago, Tom meets a host of unusual fellow travelers, including rambunctious train personnel, lonely wanderers and a pair of elopers; he also runs into Eleanor, now a screenwriter for a legendary film director who's on board researching a possible film about trains. Matters complicate further aboard the Southwest Chief, running from Chicago to L.A., as Tom's Tinseltown girlfriend shows up and proposes marriage just as Tom and Eleanor are working their way back together; a sneak thief nabs valuables; and an avalanche traps the train in the midst of a historic blizzard. The narrative is loaded with cool train lore (Baldacci dedicates the book to "everyone who loves trains and holidays") and plenty of romance and good cheer, though suspense is low who can doubt how things will work out? and the author gets a bit preachy about the advantages of train travel and the lessons of Christmas. This is a more warmhearted and enjoyable novel than Grisham's comparable holiday offering last year, Skipping Christmas, and Baldacci's fans will snap it up as the Yuletide treat it is. Expect this to stuff plenty of stockings on December 25; all aboard! Simultaneous Time Warner Audio and Large Print edition. (One-day laydown Nov. 5) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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