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Death by Hollywood: A Novel Hardcover – September 9, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
This clever debut novel by the creator of Hill St. Blues, NYPD Blue and other hit TV shows is as smooth and rich as the name-brand Chardonnays preferred by many of the book's fabulously conflicted Tinseltown characters. Narrator Eddie Jelko, an A-level agent, sets the stage by declaring, "It's a tough town and a tough business, and if you don't watch your step either one'll kill you, which I guess is what this story is actually about." Eddie's screenwriter client Bobby Newman's career is fading fast: he can't get a handle on a long-overdue screenplay, his drinking is out of control and his wife is having an affair with a sleazebag director. One drunken evening, Bobby sits down with his Bushnell telescope and spies on a couple making love in a nearby house. When they've finished, they begin to argue, and the woman, whom Bobby recognizes as a wealthy socialite, hauls off and kills her lover with an acting trophy. In any other town, Bobby would report the crime, but instead he sees it as both the solution to his writer's block and a vehicle to the top of the Hollywood heap. The story proceeds apace; the twists and turns are predictable but amusing, the agent jokes are funny and the O. Henry-style ending ties everything up with an attractive bow. A publisher's letter and star-treatment interview with Bochco attempt to add weight to this pleasing, slick-as-silk fiction, but there's no need for such addenda. The book is fast, fun, sexy and delivers plenty of inside dope on movie stars and their wacky lives. That's enough for millions of readers who aren't interested in slogging their way through War and Peace. Relax, guys, it's gonna be a hit.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From The New Yorker
"Writers, by definition, are voyeurs," Eddie Jelko, a Hollywood agent and the cynical narrator of this steamy thriller, explains. One of his clients, a screenwriter named Bobby Newman, peers through his state-of-the-art telescope one night and spies a billionaire's trophy wife murdering her Latin lover. This being Hollywood, he doesn't call the police but, desperate for a good story to revive his flagging career, decides to write about the crime and befriends both the killer and the detective by way of research. Bochco delights in Hollywood sleaze, and his years in the industry (he co-created "NYPD Blue" and "L.A. Law") have given him a good ear for its vicious banter. The conniving characters, though shamelessly stereotypical, are painted with exuberant vigor, and, as the plot accelerates to its inevitable twist, Bochco maintains a seductive atmosphere where nothing is what it seems and someone is always watching.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
Top customer reviews
Hollywood at it's sleaziest, or maybe it's best. I guess it depends on how you look at it.
A fun read with some real insight from 'one who knows'.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this book as a light, funny read with plenty of inside jokes to satisfy followers of the industry. It then becomes the solving of a murder mystery with sex thrown in. Some of my favorites subjects. A great book to take to the beach or for a cross-country flight.