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The Wicked and the Dead Paperback – April 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Quiet Storm Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975857142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975857144
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,669,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Weibezahl is the author of two crime novels featuring screenwriter-sleuth Billy Winnetka--THE WICKED AND THE DEAD and THE DEAD DON'T FORGET--and a number of short stories, including the Derringer Award finalist "Identity Theft," which appears in the anthology DEADLY BY THE DOZEN. His two literary cookbooks/anthologies--A TASTE OF MURDER and A SECOND HELPING OF MURDER, co-edited with Jo Grossman, were both finalists for the Agatha and Macavity Awards. A columnist for "BookPage" since 2002, his work has also appeared in the "Los Angeles Daily News," "Los Angeles Reader," "Ventura County Star, "Mystery Readers Journal," "Bikini," "Irish America," and many other national and regional publications.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Hollywood scriptwriter Billy Winnetka inadvertently finds himself cast in a real-life crime drama featuring murder, mayhem, and vice. Producer Harold Clausen sets up a meeting regarding a project that Billy has developed. But, when Clausen fails to show up for the appointment and is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Billy decides to investigate. His first duty is to comfort the luscious widow Mitzi, a not so typical "Hollywood wife." She and Clausen were more than just acquaintances to Billy.

Is it chauvinism or curiosity that motivates him to take on the role of gumshoe in this increasingly complicated investigation?

Enter the ever-suspicious Sgt. Goold who hates the movie business and warns Billy away. Outsmarting Goold becomes a mission for Billy when he discovers that there are other sudden and mysterious deaths of people who had worked with Harold Clausen. This leads him straight into the danger zone. And as Sgt. Goold so aptly states, "Bad stuff coming down, Mr. Winnetka. Amateur sleuth meets up with not-so-amateur criminal. I told you not to get involved."

With Los Angeles as the movie world setting, the scenes are reminiscent of a classic film noir that would appeal to fans of Robert Parker and Sidney Sheldon. Tony, the intrepid assistant to the murdered producer, is cast as the perfect foil to Billy Winnetka. Young, earnest and deeply involved in the Hollywood gay scene, Tony careens his way through the story in a 1969 magenta-colored Pontiac Catalina that "seemed to be held together by equal parts of body putty and goodwill." He manages to elude death and helps to uncover the pieces that will eventually solve this puzzling chain of crime.

Armchair Interviews says: Robert Weibezahl succeeds in writing an intriguing story--in spite of distracting text riddled with editorial mistakes.
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Format: Paperback
Billy Winnetka is an aging (well, for Hollywood) screenwriter with a possible job in the works. His producer, Harold Clausen, is another old man, even older than Billy. Which means both men are on this side of sixty, to one degree or another. Billy's deal falls through when Harold is found dead, half buried under a mud slide in a canyon the wrong direction from his office. Officer Goold thinks there may have been foul play.

He's right, but it takes a while for all the connections to surface. Several years ago, Harold was the producer for a religious film Jesus Agonists. There was some negative reaction to the film from the religious zealots, and the film was bad enough that it would have tanked anyway. In the last six months or so, several people directly connected to Jesus Agonistes have died, all of the deaths appearing to be accidental. Billy refuses to believe there are that many coincidences. Goold, on the other hand, isn't buying it and persists in warning Billy not to investigate.

Harold's assistant was a nice young man named Tony. He wants to help Billy investigate. This lands Tony in the hospital with a life-threatening insulin coma. Still, Tony wants to help. He's out a job now that Harold is gone, and he's a refreshing kind of person, so Billy and Tony investigate together.

Billy does have a life outside of screenwriting, sort of. He used to be married to Rae, but they are divorced. Billy thinks he can turn that around, as the divorce was fairly low-key and they still get together now and then (with conjugal visitation). In the middle of the Clausen case, Rae comes down from Oregon to tell Billy she may be remarrying. Billy is stunned. And unhappy. Rae returns to Oregon.
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By A Customer on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Robert Weibezahl has taken us to the heart of Hollywood in his new book The Wicked and the Dead. And a cold black heart it is! It is an insider's look at the business of films and film makers. Since he himself worked seven years in film production for major studios he is able to show the reader this world fine detail. It is this setting that makes this book unique within the current market for crime fiction.

Billy Winnetka is an script writer who has worked in Hollywood for a long time, maybe too long. He has survived in the business, knows a lot of people, but the times are changing. He still gets an occasional call for a "meeting" but they are getting farther apart. On the other hand, Billy still has money coming in, a place to live and a nice Saab. With Joanie Mitchell in the tape deck, a good used book store near by and an ex-wife who still speaks to him, life is not too bad. Maybe this is why the murder of Harold Clausen hits him the wrong way. Clausner a producer acquaintance of his, meets with an accident on the way to a meeting with Billy, but the accident is a bit suspicious. As other old acquaintances are also permanently edited out of life Billy gets to work to figure out who is the final editor.

This book is just plain fun. Billy Winnetka is a character you hope to meet again. He is not the brightest crime solver ever introduced, but he tries and cares- what else can be asked for in the bad, bright world of Hollywood? This book is for anyone who just wants to spend a few hours lost in the fake glitter of Tinseltown, absorbed in a well constructed murder mystery. A throw back to the style of the 50s, it is a pleasant addition to the modern crime over easy novels.
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