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Daniel Weizmann creates a fresh take on noir in his debut The Last Songbird. It uses the tropes of an L.A. setting and dark pasts in unique ways and serves up a tale lyrical as the music it deals with. It carries the mood of a City Of Angels sunset, right before the town goes dark.

Addy Zant supports his flailing pursuit of a songwriting career as a Lyft driver. He connected with one of his rides, Annie Linden, a Joni Mitchell style singer-songwriter who peaked in the mid-seventies. He ends up being her regular off the books driver and she even takes his demo tape to listen to.

When he arrives at her home to pick her up, he finds her security guard, Troy Banks, murdered and Annie missing. Three days latter, her body is discovered on the beach. The police arrest Bix Gelen, her assistant. Addy goes poking around to clear him. His search takes him into Annie's sordid past, becoming a suspected accomplice to the cops and getting the attention of some shady characters connected to the town's music business.

Weitzmann deftly uses the relationship between amatuer slueth and victim. It captures how in L.A. the struggling dreamers can view of those whose dreams have come true. A passage when Addy talks to the family of Troy, the other victim, expressesses the social gulf. Generations are also expressed. Addy works toward a possible future, while learn how Annie is trapped in her history. However, their bond through music creates an emotional link between them, even if one exists only in memory.

The Last Songbird delivers the goods for modern noir. It unravels an engaging mystery as it meditates on broken dreams, loss, and regrets. The results prove human and haunting.


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