Sunday, May 29, 2016

Now Available: Branded - Ed Gorman

Now Available: Branded - Ed Gorman


Young Andy Malloy is surrounded by tragedy and trouble. His stepmother is dead. His father, accused of her murder, is on the run from a posse led by a brutal sheriff with demons of his own. Andy’s investigation into the crime is about to put him in deadly danger. And the truth, not to mention Andy’s own life, may rest in the hands of a pathetic town drunk and a freckle-faced redhead . . .

BRANDED is a classic novel by the master of Western noir, Ed Gorman. Filled with compelling characters, breathtaking suspense, and stunning plot twists, it’s a yarn guaranteed to please Western and mystery readers and a novel not soon to be forgotten.

(This is one of Ed's best books. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and grab it.)


Thursday, May 26, 2016

BETTER ED - Max Allan Collins and Friends


May 24th, 2016 by Max Allan Collins
Normally I would just provide a link, but this BETTER DEAD review from Ed Gorman’s blog is so smart and trenchant (not a word you hear much these days), I just had to share it with you here. By way of full disclosure, Ed and I are friends, but we are also genuine fans of each other’s work.
BETTER DEAD
In 1983, Max Allan Collins created a brand new sub-genre, something very few writers have ever done. In TRUE DETECTIVE, his first Nathan Heller novel, he wedded the street-wise private detective novel with the historical novel.
The advantages to this approach were enormous. The big blockbuster historical novels were all too often stagey and wooden. Heller not only brought a sense of humor to the dance, he treated the historical figures he dealt with as human beings who farted, told dirty jokes and had the kind of mundane personal problems the big blockbusters never dealt with. In other words, he brought reality to the table.
In BETTER DEAD Heller is hired by Senator Joseph McCarthy to prove that all the victims Tail Gunner Joe is pursuing are actually “Commies.” His particular interest is Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who sit in prison awaiting their execution. This is just how I imagined McCarthy, a drunken, ignorant Mick rummy bent on achieving massive power. He is assisted in this by none other than Roy Cohn, a vile and treacherous figure who just happened to be (half a decade later) one of Donald Trump’s mentors.
But Heller also signs on to help an ailing Dashiell Hammett find evidence that the Rosenbergs have been set up and are innocent.
Collins recreates the Zeitgeist of the era very well. Yes, there were a lot of Communist sympathizers back then, mostly older men and women, intellectuals often, who saw the suffering during the Depression and thought—mistakenly—that Communism was the solution. (I started college in 1962 and took a history class from an elderly professor who was still a Stalinist, despite the fact that we now knew that Uncle Joe Stalin had slaughtered millions and millions of his own people.)
But these weren’t “Communist agents,” just disillusioned intellectuals (the Coen Bros. wittily address this in their latest film “Hail Caesar”).
Collins’ sociological eye never fails. Here’s a description I’ve now read three or four times just because I enjoy it so much. Heller is in the Bohemian heart of Greenwich Village.
“The clientele this time of time of night was mostly drinking coffee, and a good number were drunk, some extravagantly so as artists and poets and musicians sang their own praises and bemoaned the shortcomings of their lessers. These were self-defined outcasts, their attire at once striking and shabby, drab and outlandish.”
Bravado writing on every single page.
Max Allan Collins not only created a new sub-genre—he is its undisputed master.
* * *
Speaking of BETTER DEAD, we are sitting at five reviews on Amazon. We sure could use some more (same for THE BIG SHOWDOWNand MURDER NEVER KNOCKS).  ANTIQUES FATE is doing better at twelve reviews.
For those who have not written reviews at Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble before, you don’t have to be Anthony Boucher – just a couple of lines expressing your opinion is all that’s necessary. But more is welcome.
* * *







































Here’s a movie you need to go to: THE NICE GUYS.
If you, like me, consider Shane Black’s KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005) the best private eye movie of recent years, you will be a porker in excrement at this one. Set in 1977, the script co-written by Black nails the era to perfection, paving the way for outstanding art direction.
But you won’t go home whistling the sets. The plot, which has to do with the murder of a porn star, is a twisty thing where the detectives mostly stumble onto the clues, but you’ll only be amused. The dialogue has a witty, naturalistic bounce that stands apart from the story, reminiscent of my favorite TV show, ARCHER. And it’s rare that a crime film can be this funny and yet be so tough. There’s a lot of Spillane in this one, particularly by way of Russell Crowe, heavy-set and menacing and rather sweet.
Crowe and his co-star Ryan Gosling are the surprises here. I thought Gosling was an empty pretty boy until I saw him on SNL a while back and he was funnier than the cast. Here he is hilarious without shortchanging the character. I knew I liked this movie, but I loved it when Gosling found a corpse and did a tribute to Lou Costello by way of his “Hey Abbott!”-type reaction.
Warning: it contains lots of nudity and blood splattery violence, and by “warning” I mean “recommendation.”
* * *
Here’s a really nice and very smart review of MURDER NEVER KNOCKS.
Check out this terrific review of the Ms. Tree novel, DEADLY BELOVED.
Finally, you may get a kick out of this look at the Bradbury Building, home of Nate Heller’s LA office. I participate in the comments section.
M.A.C.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Forgotten Books: The Plastic Nightmare by Richard Neely


The Plastic Nightmare




I've written here before about Richard Neely. He wrote non-series crime novels that pretty much covered the entire range of dark suspense. I mentioned that in the best of them the weapon of choice is not poison, bullets or garrote. He always prefered sexual betrayl.

Plastic is a good example. Using amnesia as the central device Dan Mariotte must reconstruct his life. Learning that the beautiful woman at his bedside all these months in the hospital--his wife--may have tried to kill him in a car accident is only the first of many surprises shared by Mariotte and the reader alike.

What gives the novel grit is Neely's take on the privileged class. He frequently wrote about very successful men (he was a very successful adverts man himself) and their women. The time was the Seventies. Private clubs, privte planes, private lives. But for all the sparkle of their lives there was in Neely's people a despair that could only be assauged (briefly) by sex. Preferably illicit sex. Betrayl sex. Men betrayed women and women betrayed men. It was Jackie Collins only for real.

Plastic is a snapshot of a certain period, the Seventies when the Fortune 500 dudes wore sideburns and faux hippie clothes and flashed the peace sign almost as often as they flashed their American Express Gold cards. Johny Carson hipsters. The counter culture co-opted by the pigs.

The end is a stunner, which is why I can say little about the plot. Neely knew what he was doing and I'm glad to see his book back in print. Watching Neeely work was always a pleasure.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Review of my book LAWLESS



At Thomas McNulty's blog, Dispatches From the Last Outlaw, he writes a very kind review of my novel LAWLESS. Here's a sample:

'I am long overdue in discussing an Ed Gorman novel on this blog. There was a time when he had books coming out from Leisure and Berkley and I bought whatever I could afford. If any of you are ever fortunate to meet my wife, she enjoys telling a story about giving me “lunch money” when we were first married (over thirty years ago) and then discovering I wasn’t eating lunch. You’ve already guessed what I did with the money. That’s right – the paperbacks piled up. They continue to pile up. Gorman is one of my favorites. Lawless dates from 2000, published by Berkley, a tough western. Gorman writes with an economy of style that still fully realizes the scenes, dialogue and characterization.'

Read the rest of the review here.  Amazon has a few used copies available.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review--BETTER DEAD by Max Allan Collins




BETTER DEAD

     In  1983, Max Allan Collins created a brand new sub-genre, something very few writers have ever done.  In TRUE DETECTIVE, his first Nathan Heller novel, he wedded the street-wise private detective novel with the historical novel.
     The advantages to this approach were enormous. The big blockbuster historical novels were all too often stagey and wooden.  Heller not only brought a sense of humor to the dance, he treated the historical figures he dealt with as human beings who farted, told dirty jokes and had the kind of mundane personal problems the big blockbusters never dealt with. In other words, he brought reality to the table.
    In BETTER DEAD Heller is hired by Senator Joseph McCarthy to prove that all the victims Tail Gunner Joe is pursuing are actually “Commies.” His particular interest is Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who sit in prisons awaiting their execution. This is just how I imagined McCarthy, a drunken, ignorant Mick rummy bent on achieving massive power. He is assisted in this by none other than Roy Cohn, a vile and treacherous figure who just happened to be (half a decade later) one of Donald Trump’s mentors.
    But Heller also signs on to help an ailing Dashiell Hammett find evidence that the Rosenbergs have been set up and are innocent.
    Collins recreates the zeitgeist of the era very well. Yes, there were a lot of Communist sympathizers back then, mostly older men and women, intellectuals often, who saw the suffering during the Depression and thought—mistakenly—that Communism was the solution. (I started college in 1962 and took a history class from an elderly professor who was still a Stalinist, despite the fact that we now knew that Uncle Joe Stalin had slaughtered millions and millions of his own people.)
    But these weren’t “Communist agents,” just disillusioned intellectuals (The Coen Bros. wittily address this in their latest film “Hail Caesar”).
   Collins’ sociological eye never fails. Here’s a description I’ve now read three or four times just because I enjoy it so much. Heller is in the Bohemian heart of Greenwich Village.
    “The clientele this time of time of night was mostly drinking coffee, and a good number were drunk, some extravagantly so as artists and poets and musicians sang their own praises and bemoaned the shortcomings of their lessers. These were self-defined outcasts, their attire at once striking and shabby, drab and outlandish.”
    Bravado writing on every single page.
    Max Allan Collins not only created a new sub-genre--he is its undisputed master.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lawrence Block on Four Lives at the Crossroads




It seems only appropriate that I write something about FOUR LIVES AT THE CROSSROADS for Ed Gorman. He’s in part responsible for my decision to foist it upon all of y’all.

Bill Hamling’s operation (soft-core erotica while-u-wait) published the book as a Midnight Reader in 1962, so I must have written it sometime that year or the year before. (Manuscripts did not spend much time incubating in Evanston, Illinois. The fledglings lingered only long enough to be outfitted with a cover and title before being nudged out of the nest and into the world.)

This one flew off as Crossroads of Lust, which may or may not have been the title I hung on it. (Lust was so much a Hamling catchword that I’ve wondered if he ever made the effort to trademark it. I turned in one novel with the anagrammatically appealing title of Lust Slut, but someone in Evanston changed it to something else. And, after an all-night poker game had somehow failed to produce a viable collaborative novel, we who had written it referred to the resultant mess as Lust Fuck.)

But I digress…and probably not for the last time. That was this book’s title, Crossroads of Lust. As for its cover, it had nothing much to do with the book, and showed a young woman on her knees, with her hindquarters elevated. (We’ve been using the original cover art on our reissues of the Collection of Classic Erotica titles, but drew the line here; my Goddess of Design and Production said it cried out for the caption, “Doctor, I’m ready for my enema!”)

Anyway, off it went, Crossroads of Lust, launched into the world, and set to waste its fragrance on the desert air. By the time it appeared on shelves wherever bad books were sold, I’d probably written three or four others. I was at the time doing a book a month for Bill Hamling (even as a ghostwriter of mine was doing another under my Andrew Shaw name), and I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about my manuscripts once they were out of the house. I was also writing other books, more ambitious work in the more demanding world of crime fiction, and those were the ones I thought about. The Andrew Shaw books took up space in my head only during the time I spent writing them.

Now Crossroads of Lust was in fact a little of both, its plot centered upon the armed robbery of an armored car, the doublecross that ensues, and the two star-crossed lovers racing to the Mexican border.

This wasn’t the first time Andrew Shaw had straddled genre lines. Early on, I started writing a book with a counterfeiting background, with the hope it would wind up as a Gold Medal crime novel. Five or six chapters in I lost confidence in it, felt it was missing the mark, and sexed it up enough to make it that month’s entry for Nightstand. I don’t know what I called it, but the boys in Illinois called it $20 Lust—there’s that word again—and I forgot about it.

But others remembered. Somehow the book came to the attention of both Ed Gorman and Bill Schafer, both of whom thought far more highly of it than did its author. They urged me to bring the book out again, and that was about the last thing I wanted to hear. I went through an enduring phase when I maintained the sort of non-recognition policy toward my pseudonymous early work as did United States for so long toward Mainland China, but with what struck me as better prospects for long-term success; China wasn’t going away, but Andrew Shaw’s work, printed on non-acid-free paper, very well might.

God speed the acid, said I.

It took a while, but eventually Ed and Bill got through to me, and lit a fire under Ego and Avarice, the matched steeds that haul my chariot. Bill’s Subterranean Press published the book, now yclept Cinderella Sims, in hardcover trade and limited editions. When the eRevolution broke out, I brought it out as an ebook via Open Road, and when my deal with that firm ran its course, I published it myself as both an ebook and a paperback, including it in my Classic Crime Library.

Meanwhile, my agent sold it in France, where they published it purely and simply as a crime novel, and where it did quite well. I dunno, maybe something was gained in translation.

Never mind. Over the years, Charles Ardai of Hard Case Crime was mining my store of early books, rescuing titles like A Diet of Treacle and Lucky at Cards and Borderline from the oblivion I’d always thought they deserved. I entered into the spirit of things and suggested a few others as Hard Case candidates, and Crossroads was one of them. Charles read it, weighed its merits against its deficiencies, and after due consideration decided against it. Part of his problem with the book was that he felt it was misogynistic, and perhaps it is, or at least several of its characters are.

A few months ago, pleased by the reception which greeted the 16 titles in my Classic Crime Library, I decided what the world needed was a Collection of Classic Erotica—i.e., the better examples of my work as Sheldon Lord and Andrew Shaw. Encouraged by the example of my friend Robert Silverberg, whose view on the subject struck me as far more honest and balanced than my own, I decided it was time not only to recognize Red China but to establish a profitable trade deal. (And to help keep the record straight in the bargain; there are many books out there bearing my pen names that were in fact written by other hands than mine, and republishing my own work is a way of granting it an imprimatur and establishing my personal authorship.)

So I took another look at Crossroads of Lust. And pondered where to include it—Classic Crime Library or Collection of Classic Erotica? Unlike $20 Lust/Cinderella Sims, it didn’t start out trying to be a crime novel. It was from the first page destined to be that month’s effort for Evanston, and that it had a crime plot was essentially coincidental. Andrew Shaw’s books, you should understand, benefited from belonging to an extremely forgiving genre. They had to be long enough, and they had to have a sex scene in every chapter, and they had to be written in some form of American English. Aside from that, they could be whatever they wanted to be, and might include whatever fermented in the author’s psyche and came out through his typewriter.

Did it occur to me, while I was writing Crossroads, that I might better steer it in an unsullied crime fiction direction, with a goal of publishing it with Gold Medal or someone similar? I’m fairly certain I never entertained such a thought. I wanted merely to be done with it and move on to whatever came next.

And now, all those years later, I began reading the book. I was surprised to note that I’d dedicated it—to the woman who’d run the Fourth Street Grill in Newport, Kentucky, an operation described quite faithfully in Crossroads. (You walked into a room with a lunch counter along the wall. “The counter’s closed, boys,” Madge would announce. “Would you like to go upstairs and see a girl?” I went there a couple of times—Newport was across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, which in turn was an hour’s drive from Yellow Springs, where I went to school—and I never got a sandwich or a cup of coffee, but I did go upstairs. I wish I’d thought to get a receipt, that I might write off such visits as tax-deductible research.)

I’ve digressed again, haven’t I? Never mind. I read the book, and saw why the Sage of Cedar Rapids had lobbied for its republication, and saw too why Charles Ardai had decided against it. But maybe a little editing would help.

If nothing else, I could undo some assistance I’d received from someone in Evanston. The epithet of choice throughout the book was louse, and somehow it didn’t ring true. We can stand it when James Cagney snarls “You dirty rat!” when what he would have said was more along the lines of “You fucking cocksucker!”—but he had the Breen office to contend with, and while Nightstand may have avoided all those words George Carlin couldn’t say on TV, I would think something like, say, bastard might do the job better than louse.

So I pruned here and tweaked there and rewrote a few terrible sentences, some of which I may have had the bad judgment to write some 45 years ago. And I began to suspect that what I was doing was putting lipstick on a pig.

Because the book was an erotic quickie at heart, and my efforts wouldn’t be enough to change that. Nor did I see much point in yanking the armored car holdup out of the book and writing a new book around it. It was what it was, and people would enjoy it or not, and if it didn’t really qualify for a slot in the Classic Crime Library, it could certainly hold its own in the Collection of Classic Erotica, where the crime element would only enhance it.

Having reached this conclusion, I went on applying Lady Danger to those porcine lips, probably giving the process more time than it needed. And the Goddess and I decided against gracing the result with its original cover. The Sheldon Lord books for Midwood were blessed with wonderful cover art, more often than not the work of the remarkable Paul Rader; Hamling’s books were less well served, and while Harold W. McCauley provided a superb cover painting for Campus Tramp, as time passed the covers got progressively shorter shrift. With all that lipstick, well, Crossroads deserved a better cover.

And a better title. Four Lives at the Crossroads struck me as an improvement, and I cobbled up a cover to fit, and the Goddess took a look at what I’d done and improved it hugely.

And that’s the story, Maurie—as a young fellow named TJ would tell you. The ebook’s available exclusively for Kindle, while the paperback should be on sale in a matter of weeks—at the CreateSpace store, from Amazon, and through other online booksellers as well.

Ed here: You can pick up the very entertaining Four Lives at the Crossroads by following the link. Visit the Lawrence Block website for more information.

Monday, May 16, 2016

SHADOW GAMES review at Gravetapping

Ben Boulden at Gravetapping has a great review of the new edition of my novel Shadow Games. Here's a small taste:
 
"I have a particular fondness for Shadow Games. It is not only a terrific novel, but it was my introduction to the work of Ed Gorman. The year was 2000. I made a habit of studying and writing in a library not far from where I worked as a pizza delivery driver; a job I won’t recommend, but a job that treated me well just the same. My usual table was tucked at the back of the fiction stacks. I sat, my back to the wall, facing a bookshelf packed with the latest genre titles making study nearly impossible since the stories beckoned me.

"There was one title that, day after day, caught my attention. It was a mass market paperback, black background with orange-red print and the large white Leisure Books logo—a publisher I miss badly—at the top of its spine. Its title, Shadow Games. When I finally relented and read Shadow Games, sitting right there in the library, its tale of Hollywood ambition, perversion, and lost potential, all told in a darkly humorous tone, made me a lifetime fan of Ed Gorman’s work."

Read more at Gravetapping!

Shadow Games and Other Sinister Stories of Show Business is available from Amazon and direct from the publisher, Short, Scary Tales


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Gravetapping at 10: An Anniversary Thing


This post has been a long time coming. Every year when it gets close to Gravetapping’s anniversary – May 14, if you care – I go through the following thought process:

I should write an anniversary post extolling the virtues ofGravetapping and all my hard work to keep it going, which is immediately followed by—

That sounds like work and my 1.57 regular readers will think I’m a pompous jackass with nothing better to do than talk about myself, which is followed shortly by—

Maybe next year.  

Well, this is the year. Why this year and not last year, or next year? The reason is because this is Gravetapping’s tenth year of operation and if I’m going to tell you how awesome I am it seems more forgivable on a big anniversary than a small one.

When I started Gravetapping, a poorly devised Sunday afternoon activity in 2006, it was going to be a place where I reviewed mostly horror fiction, which explains the blog’s creepy name. But as it turned out my fancy for horror faded, without disappearing, and I started reviewing nearly everything genre—crime, mystery, suspense, western, horror, science fiction. At the time I thought it was a passing fancy with a built in excuse to read and study other writers’ work to improve my own. As it turned out I’ve kept at it pretty consistently over the years with only one significant hiatus—okay, it was all of 2011—and an ill-advised move from Gravetapping to a blog no one, not even my 1.57 regular readers, visited called Dark City Underground in 2010.

My blogging experience has been a good one. Sure, there have been moments when I wondered what I was doing, and others when I felt pretty good about what I was doing. I’ve kept blogging because I want to blog, write reviews, think about books, and in my own small way help the literary community as best I can. And believe me, any help I’ve provided has been immeasurably tiny. The emails I’ve received from readers and writers over the years, every one of them positive, have helped me gear up for one more post more times than I can count.

My first post was published May 14, 2006—titled simply “Grave Tapping”—and the most recent, this one, May 14, 2016. Ten years that have been good to me, my family, and I hope yours. Ten years that have seen an unknown number of posts at Gravetapping; unknown because I have a habit of deleting older posts I don’t like, or have been replaced by newer better posts, or are no longer relevant.

I do have a count of the reviews I’ve written expressly for Gravetapping, which is 240 and counting. It has also led me to new opportunities and venues for my writing. I regularly write reviews for Mystery Scene Magazine. I have written a couple introductions for Stark House Press, and I have a project brewing that I dare not speak of since it may jinx the whole deal. And it is all due to Gravetapping.

Happy birthday Gravetapping! Thanks for the good times and, while I can’t guarantee another ten years, here is to the future.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Gravetapping: No Comment: "Overhead"


Hemingway liked to talk about how life sometimes bent people, sometimes in such a way that they healed and went on, stronger because of the hurt. He said life sometimes broke people, too. But he never really came to terms with that. Maybe he couldn’t. Maybe at the very end Hemingway understood being truly broken, beyond healing, and that was why he went down to the hallway that fine sunny morning outside of Ketchum and put both barrels of the shotgun to his forehead, just above the eyes, and pulled both triggers.

—Jack M. Bickham, Overhead. Tor, 1993 (© 1991) page 279. 

Sunday, May 08, 2016

New Books: The Stardom Affair by Robert S. Levinson

                                           

More than ten years ago—The first crime novel I sold, The Elvis and Marilyn Affair, featured a Los Angeles newspaper columnist, Neil Gulliver, and his ex-wife, “Sex Queen of the Soaps” Stevie Marriner. They were enthusiastically adopted by readers who relished their showbiz-based adventure and wanted more.

Consequently, Neil and Stevie starred in my next three novels, trading loving, lighthearted banter and sharing danger and tight brushes with murder and mayhem that involved marquee names such as James Dean, John Lennon and even Andy Warhol.

Then—

Poof!

Like that.

They disappeared from view, apart from the occasional short story appearance in Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock and other publications over the years.

Gone, but certainly not forgotten, and definitely not because readers had tired of them.

Au contraire.

As much as I loved treating their fans to the adventures of Neil and Stevie, I felt trapped. I had never intended to lock myself into a series. There were other characters and other stories I had in me that were anxious to bust loose. So, off I went, in time turning out nine standalones that, happily, kept my readers coming back for more. But—

Their desire for more Neil and Stevie never went away. 

At store and library appearances, conferences and conventions, even in social media exchanges, I was asked, “When are you bringing Neil and Stevie back?” “Are you ever going to bring Neil and Stevie back?” “What do you have against Neil and Stevie? What’d they ever do to you?” “The new stuff is fine, but another Neil and Stevie would be finer for me and your other longtime readers, sir.” “It’s more Neil and Stevie or no more me, you get my meaning?”

I always answered by expressing my own affection for Neil and Stevie and leaving open the window of possibility. It arrived one day, about a year and a half ago, when I plopped down in front of my computer and stared at a blank screen, wondering what to follow The Evil Deeds We Do with.  

Neil and Stevie?

Okay, yes, sure, why not, if I could figure out how to overcome a major obstacle. By the last of those four early mystery-thrillers, Neil and Stevie had aged substantially and she had moved on from the soaps to stage and movie stardom.  Moving forward was certainly possible, but moving backward in time might be closer to what their persistent fans wanted and more fun for me to write.

And that’s how The Stardom Affair came to pass, like a prequel that’s not exactly a prequel:

It's decades ago, when the internet was in its infancy.

Neil is summoned to the apartment of actor Roddy Donaldson, leader of the "Diapered Dozen" gang of teenage movie stars, by condo manager Sharon Glenn. Roddy is in bed clinging to life alongside two dead girls, no memory of who they are or how they got there. Evidence points to him as their killer.
 
At the urging of Roddy's mother, a prominent casting director, Neil chases after the truth, encountering a motley cast of suspects: among them nasty Nicky Edmunds, co-starring with pal Roddy in Tough Times Two, and glamorous Jayne Madrigal, a high-powered press agent with whom Neil is smitten when Stevie introduces them at a lavish Stardom Magazine gala. 

Also: rap superstar Maxie Trotter and his manager, Roscoe Del Ruth; Gene Coburn and Knox Lundigan, millionaire partners in Stardom House companies revolutionizing the internet; model-songstress Aleta Haworth, who knows more than she's telling; fading film star Brian Armstrong, who harbors dark truths; and Stevie's mother, Juliet, and her fiancé, Bernie Flame, a computer whiz who may be able to find answers for Neil in the secret underground world of the Web. More bodies fall and Neil faces an ugly death before the killer of the two girls is revealed.

The comments from early readers, fellow authors whose work I admire, have been extremely generous:

“The author has delivered a fast-paced, surprisingly dark, not-surprisingly witty thriller that includes a scene of movieland sex and violence more nightmarish than anything devised by Nathanael West or David Lynch”—Dick Lochte, award-winning author of Sleeping Dog
 “When one of Hollywood's hottest young stars finds himself in a tangle with two dead bodies and almost dead of a drug overdose himself, Neil Gulliver's reporter's instincts are aroused, and he's plunged into an ever darker world of sex, drugs, and murder. The patter is snappy, the writing is sharp, and the observations are pointed as a dagger in another winner from Levinson.”—Bill Crider, award-winning author of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes mysteries
“From big box office powerbrokers to L.A.'s seething underworld of designer drugs and porn movies, you're in for the roller-coaster ride of your reading life. But then, it's no surprise –Robert S. Levinson is a master of style and suspense. Buy this book and enjoy!”—Gayle Lynds, New York Times best-selling author of The Assassins
 “Robert S. Levinson handles the hardboiled style of storytelling with soft, sure hands. Neil Gulliver continues to be one of the most reliable main characters in the genre. And, along with his ex-wife, Stevie Marriner, they continue to channel Nick & Nora Charles. Reading The Stardom Affair is time well spent.”—Robert J. Randisi, best-selling author of the Rat Pack mysteries. 
I’m hopeful (of course) The Stardom Affair will also score positively with Neil and Stevie’s longtime fans and readers unfamiliar with the darling duo. Whichever category you fall into—be advised The Stardom Affair is available now, on line and off, from your favorite bookseller.

Cheers!