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Ten-A-Week Steale Paperback – March 8, 2012
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Stephen Jared presents a noir book, a hardboiled detective novel set in the Roaring Twenties. The speakeasies abound, bathtub gin pours easily, women bob their hair and forgo the restrictive clothing of previous decades for the lighter, shorter, more revealing styles now available. Hollywood in all its glory as changes from silent films to talkies prevails in this story of a man who only charges ten dollars per week for his services, no matter what the case is about. Politics also take a heavy hand in Walt's life, and Jared keeps our hero hopping from one end of Los Angeles to the other.
Whether you enjoy a glimpse of the past, the thought of riding a streetcar or walking instead of driving, or being caught in the middle of a thriller where it seems no one will win, this is the book for you. Jared keeps the reader on tenterhooks throughout, with an ending that will have you begging for more.
I highly recommend this novel for all lovers of history and an excellent mystery.
A guy like Steale in a spot like that, though he has an abundance of brains (or at least cunning) and brawn, needs some help. It comes in the person of movie star Virginia Joy. Gin. And the book crosses back and forth between politics and show business until it's impossible to tell one from the other. Sound familiar?
Jared has done an admirable job of recreating this world of L.A. in days gone by--language, scenery, geography, movies, elections. But all of this would avail nothing without a strong story to keep us absorbed and a cast of characters to tie up our feelings. Ten-A-Week-Steale has all this and more.
The cover of Ten A Week Steale by Stephen Jared (@Stephen_Jared) tells you exactly what world you're going to be inhabiting in his wonderful atmospheric noir thriller: tough-talking guys in fedora hats, platinum blondes with killer smiles and martini glasses ...and guns, because all is not as sunny as the weather in Walter Steale's Hollywood.
"(Steale) marveled at the speed with which the film studios had been built. Within a few short years, the flickers went from a curious trick to a multi-million dollar worldwide industry. The small town of Hollywood, with its calm sunshine, fruit trees, and palms, had gone from an idyllic retirement community to a madcap destination for crackpots and eccentrics of all kinds. It was the Gold Rush all over again, only this time the down-and-outers were panning for flamboyance and fame."
More important than fame to some is power and money, and combining those two things leads to politics. The power of governing a growing state like California and pay-offs from land developers and movie studios mean little to Walter Steale, whose sense of honor makes him the perfect pawn.
Until the pawn figures out he's being used.
Noir. Intrigue. Romance. Double-dealing and double-crosses. The plot of Ten A Week Steale moves quickly, with sharply-drawn scenes and characters who crack wise in dialogue that jumps off the page. What isn't there to like about this story?
Mr. Jared, who is himself an actor, is a student of early Hollywood, and it shows in his vivid descriptions of 1920s Hollywood's landmark places and the process of making silent films. He creates wonderful period backdrops for Walter and the other characters, with the darkness of the dealings contrasting nicely against the sun-drenched landscape.
Looking for a fast, fun read? I highly recommend Ten A Week Steale.
The writing is awkward and unclear. At least once, and sometimes more often, per chapter, I read a sentence and think, "This is what the sentence says, but the writer probably means this other idea."
After his charming and very entertaining adventure 'Jack and the Jungle Lion' Stephen Jared returns with a very different crime novel involving every layer of 1920s Hollywood society. 'Ten-A-Week Steale' is raw yet occasionally delightful. Suspenseful. Romantic. Totally unpredictable. Just like they used to be. And as a genre fan I totally loved it!
Thank you for another great time Stephen. Definitely looking forward to the next novel!