Books - Current


Heather Shaw, editor

Four Stars

Sagaponic Lane peeks beneath the personal emptiness of the Hamptons’ adulterous idlers and the summering arts crowd. Driven by efficient dialogue, filtered through a largely sympathetic character, this insiders’ revelation of frailty and insecurity mocks the absurd milieu, even while meshing with it. Prose this clear is a delight to read.

The story begins after the debut novel of protagonist Paula Gaines hits the New York Times bestseller list. Invitations to elite parties ensue. Paula’s husband Dan, who has three non-selling novels to his credit, reacts with green envy, tacking his wife’s success up to dumb luck. The painter Jack Laughton embodies the dominant jaded-chic etiquette. Upon meeting Paula he asks, "…what has your huge success done to your fucking?" Because Paula has long thought of herself as physically unfortunate, she excuses the rude question and agrees to model for a one-of-a-kind portrait.

The Gaines’ best friends Steve and Miranda are another Hamptons / Manhattan couple dealing with a massive fame imbalance. Miranda is an A-list model and Steve is a usually-unemployed actor. Their relationship, though not entirely free of childish neediness, is based on mutual appreciation. Miranda comes down with a debilitating auto-immune disease at the same time Steve finally rises to a career-making performance in a hit Broadway play. The medical condition threatens to end the age of six-figure paydays. Miranda hasn’t thought of the repercussions, saying, "’I don’t give a damn about money.’" To which Paula replies, "’You say that now, but wait until you don’t have any.’"

Paula’s second novel is too easily written. She moves from word-one/draft-one to publisher-ready in two months, time scheduled heavily with evening parties, portrait modeling, tennis, trysting, and providing compassionate help to her ailing supermodel friend. Only Stephen King could make that deadline with those few available hours. She tends to succeed with less effort, reinforcing a view that random chance determines a good part of individuals’ fates.

Marion S. Freed, also known professionally as Marion Segal, has five produced screenplays, working hand-in-glove with director husband Herb Freed on features like Paradise Lost and Subterfuge. Beginning with 1973’s Badlands, the acclaimed Charles Starkweather mood piece, Freed worked with top directors including Robert Altman and Terence Malick as a Film Editor and Producer. Also a Story Editor for CBS Television, she contributed as an Editor for the publisher Dell. Sagaponic Lane, her first novel, follows Sideswiped, a set of short stories.

Decades after the Flapper days of Jay Gatsby, incredible self-absorption and vapid anomie are still endemic in the trendy Lawn Gyland getaway destinations. Life there appears an inch deep, but Freed reveals the vulnerability of plastic people, the precariousness of the pinnacle. She makes a mark on yet another field of storycraft, based more on talent than uniqueness of material. This one is good accompaniment to the beach if you can get there, or can help pass the commute to work if you aren’t so lucky. Just don’t read and drive.

Sagaponic Lane
Marion S. Freed
Atlas Books
Softcover $14.95
164 pages
ISBN: 9780976043720
Reviewed by Todd Mercer

"Acclaimed Hollywood film writer/editor Marion S. Freed pens gripping new collection of short stories that can scare the be-jeesus out of anyone." KNBC-TV

LOS ANGELES, CA, October 30, 2006—Fidlar-Doubleday/Atlas Books and Bellrock Entertainment proudly announces the publication of SIDESWIPED ($14.95, paperback, 276 pages, ISBN 0-9760437-1-8), a powerful new collection of four short stories from acclaimed Hollywood screenplay writer/film editor Marion S. Freed.

Marion S. Freed´s theatrically-released screenplays include "Subterfuge," "Child2Man," "Sunsplash," and "Paradise Lost." She served as film editor on such motion pictures as "Badlands," "Days of Heaven," "California Split," "Fun with Dick and Jane," "Who´s Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?," "The Ladies Club," and "Last Married Couple in America."

Each of SIDESWIPED´s artful short stories tells the tale of an intriguing central character "sideswiped" by a searing, completely unexpected event. Using the mesmerizing storytelling skills that make her screenplays so popular, Marion S. Freed brings us into explosive plot twists that grab us by the lapels and force us to witness life-changing, unforgettable events.

Plot Summaries

SIDESWIPED entertains and enriches readers by presenting four short stories that only Marion S. Freed could have crafted so hypnotically. "Stalking Mandy" follows a mourning father through a harrowing journey into his dead son´s secret life, after the boy commits suicide. In "The Unkindest Cut," readers follow a young woman through poignant, gripping plot twists after her new nose job changes forever her relationship with her father—and with other men. In "Black Magic," a down-and-out divorcee has her financial and love life changed forever by an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger. And in "The Opportunist," a washed-up movie star deals with the dark conspiracies of the women around him—while plotting a shocking escape.

Readers or booksellers may order copies of SIDESWIPED by calling Atlas Books toll-free at (800) 247-6553. Or please visit Marion´s Spotlight page at Atlas Books HERE

More About Author Marion S. Freed

Born Marion Sobol, Marion S. Freed has written and been involved with television and/or films most of her life. She wrote her first "novel" at the grand old age of nine, and, after graduating from Barnard College, obtained a position as Editorial Researcher on the popular Walter Cronkite-hosted TV show "You Are There." Her successful contributions to that CBS program led to a promotion as Story Editor, and she proceeded to work on a string of innovative, much-talked-about shows, including "Playhouse 90," "Studio One," and "Climax." After moving to Los Angeles, she became a Film Editor, working with directors Terence Malick ("Badlands," "Days of Heaven"), Robert Altman ("California Split"), Ted Kotcheff ("Fun with Dick and Jane," "Who´s Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?"), and many others. Her love of writing and of film came together when she became a screenwriter. She co-wrote her first screenpla, "RSVP Jennifer," with Sheldon Keller, one of the senior writers on Sid Caesar´s "Show of Show." After that, she worked on scripts with directors Terence Malick, Gil Cates, and others, until she met and married film director/producer Herb Freed, with whom she now works exclusively. She has written more than 20 screenplays, five of which have been produced and released theatrically, including "Subterfuge," "Child2Man," "Sunsplash," and "Paradise Lost."


"…Gripping…heartbreaking and beautifully conceived…a brilliant new collection of stories from a master writer/film-maker. Each page lures you deeper and deeper into a vortex of suspense and thrills."

****Robert Kovacik, NBC-TV