My French Whore, the actor Gene Wilder's debut novel, follows Pvt. Paul Peachy, a love-starved train conductor/amateur actor from Wisconsin who impulsively enlists in 1918 and ends up impersonating a spy.
''For whatever simplicity of language I've achieved,'' Wilder thanks Ernest Hemingway and Jean Renoir.
Even in print, Wilder's soothing voice anchors his swift, cinematic story. B+