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The Hollywood Op Paperback – January 24, 2011
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About the Author
Terence Faherty has been honored twice with Shamus awards for distinguished writing in the private eye field. His first novel, Deadstick, was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar.
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Faherty's postwar LA is not as gritty as some other writers have imagined it. The violence for the most part, is slapstick:
My boss, in shirt sleeves, was standing next to his desk facing two goons bigger than the one I now had behind me. They’d both glanced my way, though neither was giving me his full attention.
“Scotty!” Paddy boomed. “The very man I wanted to see. Show these gentlemen the trick you do with the gun.”
Just showing them a gun would have been a trick right then, as I wasn’t carrying one. But I did my best to oblige.
“Nothing up my sleeve,” I said, raising my left arm and tugging on my suit coat to display more shirt cuff. That got them interested. When they were good and turned my way, Paddy grabbed them by their collars and rammed their heads together. He held on to one with his left hand and tossed the other at me.
There are a lot of in jokes and movie what ifs- one novelette is about Greta Garbo's hand and knee prints in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater (her block of cement gets stolen from Grauman's warehouse). One involves a rare silent movie (purchased from the USSR) coming into LA at Union Station. The last story (the earliest in Scott Elliott's career), "Sleep Big," is one big in joke, as the naive non-detective follows in some famous footsteps (and may explain an unsolved mystery- namely, if the Sternwoods' chauffeur was 'sapped down,' how did the Packard go straight off the pier?):
“What would it say about Geiger’s bookshop?”
“That you wouldn’t want your mother to catch you reading what they sell—or rather rent—in there. It’s a rental library for smut of all varieties, including man-meets-sheep. Though I fail to see where Ben Hur comes into it. Must have been part of a gag some other guy pulled just before you went in. While we’re on the subject, I can’t say I ever liked Ben Hur. I always thought Lew Wallace had some crust, piggybacking his fairy tale onto a story a lot of people hold sacred. Those author guys are all hijackers at heart.”
Eight clever, urbane trips to a vanished Hollywood, which was partly mirage all along.