As an actor Stephen Jared has appeared in numerous feature films and television series, as well as commercials for both radio and television. His writings, including articles and interviews, have appeared in various publications. In 2010, he self-published an adventure novel titled Jack and the Jungle Lion to much critical praise, including an honorable mention in the 2011 Hollywood Book Festival. His second novel, Ten-A-Week Steale, has been picked up by Solstice Publishing and is scheduled for release in 2012. He lives in Pasadena, California.
Chandleresque. You know the drill. The title and cover slickly convey the world you're about to sink into. But be careful, because enforcer-for-hire Walter Steale, our main character, likes to play rough.
Let's not synopsize the story. This is definitely a case of the less you know, the more you'll enjoy. Plot twists abound. Characters betray allegiances and, um, "go away" unexpectedly. Settings range from champagne-sipping, tux-and-tail parties to seedy barrooms, brothels, and backroom political pow-wows. Chandleresque. But the surprising--and delightfully fun--characteristic of "Ten-A-Week" is that despite its familiar format, Jared keeps the reader in chronic suspense. Nothing happens predictably. It's unexpected within the expected unexpected, if that makes a lick of sense. I defy you to guess the ending; no, I defy you to even guess the next chapter.
After reading Jared's "Jack and the Jungle Lion," I couldn't wait to see what he would write next. That book was so evocative of "they don't make `em like that anymore" cinema that the movie rolled in my head while I ripped through the pages. As a genre literature and movie buff, Jared's unpretentious prose and reverent affection for classic cinema thrilled me. And now, like "Jack" before, "Ten-A-Week Steale" kills these proverbial two birds--not with a stone, but a bullet from Steale's frequently pulled pistol. This is one gritty, action-packed book.
Tough, cynical, sometimes brutal, but still possessing a romance and sweetness with its doubled love affair: one being the hardcase hero's affinity with a Hollywood starlet, no mere dame-in-distress, and the other being the author's unabashed affection for an idealized--if incredibly dangerous--Los Angeles that no longer exists. Maybe it never did.Read more ›
Stephen Jared is back with another excellent novel set in Hollywood's early years. Having stumbled by happy accident on Mr. Jared's debut novel "Jack and the Jungle Lion," it was a great pleasure to find his latest work available on Amazon. This time the author mines the hard-boiled, two-fisted genre forever associated with the likes of Hammett, Chandler, Spillane and Thompson: a brave undertaking, considering the obvious risk of falling prey to derivative cliché. My relief in finding the contrary to be true quickly turned to exhilaration as the story carried me along with its steady and engaging pace. Mr. Jared has a genuine talent for limning memorable characters, and his action sequences are crisp, brutal and almost poetic. In a market saturated with teen vampires and interchangeable forensic pathologists with troubled pasts, it's good to know there are still a few authors out there who can spin a good yarn, blacken a few eyes and keep the trench coat and fedora tradition alive...
I like Stephen Jared's novels, because they're sort of like classic movies in print. In his first book, the lively and romantic Jack and the Jungle Lion, he played with the adventure genre. This time, he goes grittier and darker with a 1920s-set detective story.
Though Ten-a-Week Steale is sexier and more violent than your typical golden age flick, it has the zest of a 1920s flapper pic, dialogue with a 1930s snap and an aura of 1940s noir doom. Somehow, all of that fits together. There are even movie star cameos, from Nazimova to Adolph Menjou.
The betrayed man on the run plot is familiar, but Jared gives it a boost with juicy characters and sharp wit. There are also a few novel touches. I certainly see brandy in a different light after reading a particular fight scene.
And holy cow, those action scenes! The brutal detail and twisty pacing really hit you in the gut.
Ten-a-Week-Steale is a fast-paced, engrossing story. I'd like to see more of Walter Steale. (The upcoming sequel to Jack and the Jungle Lion can't come out fast enough either!)
Ten-A-Week Steale by Stephen Jared is a taut, exciting thriller in the mode of the classic pulps, but with a sharper edge. The time is Hollywood in the 1920s, shortly after the death of Rudolph Valentino, and former Army Lieutenant Walter Steale takes on a job as hired muscle for his brother Sam, California's Lieutenant Governor. The plot thickens fairly quickly when Steale realizes he's been set-up. Steale is a traditional tough guy working in a world where "coincidence played no part" (p. 49). He carries a Star Modelo Militar automatic in a shoulder rig under his left arm. Jared's attention to detail, such as his choice of having Steale carry the Star Modelo, adds depth and insight to the tale. Most writers (myself included) would have simply used the Colt 1911, but Jared's research into Old Hollywood adds a tone of authenticity to his writing. His characters are full realized, with plausible backgrounds and well-defined personalities. Steale is that type of character one would find in a Dashiell Hammett story; tough and uncompromising. Frankly, I couldn't put this book down. Layered with a historical background and spiced with explosive action, Ten-A-Week Steale puts a fresh spin on the classic suspense tale and left me wanting more of Walter Steale. Jared's first book, Jack and the Jungle Lion, was equally entertaining but with a lighter tone (and a separate set of characters). Ten-A-Week Steale pleasantly surprised me because here Jared demonstrates that rare gift of writing a second novel that is stylistically (in tone and setting) entirely different than his first book. It was a wise choice and Jared handles the action with a Master's touch. It's all here: Hollywood during the era of the silent films, tough guys and hookers and Palm Springs and corruption and the pungent smell of cordite.