Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Books: I'm A Fool To Kill You by Robert J. Randisi


I'm A Fool To Kill You by Robert J. Randisi

By Robert J. Randisi

I’m a frustrated lounge singer.
Frank Sinatra always said he was just a lounge singer. At a live concert during the 80’s I heard him say that he and “Mr. Bennett” were the last of the lounge singers.
Well, I sing in my office, and on my own karaoke machine, and at a small karaoke lounge a friend of mine has in his basement (and at some PWA Shamus Award Banquets). And when I got the opportunity to write the screenplay for the first Rat Pack book, EVERYBODY KILLS SOMEBODY, SOMETIME, I wrote myself a part as—you guessed it, a washed up lounge singer. If and when that script gets made you’ll see me in the screen, singing.
But until my singing debut comes, I’m still writing Rat Pack mysteries.
I wrote four of them for St. Martin’s Press, and have now moved on to Severn House with the next two. You’ll notice the difference, as the covers are very dissimilar. However, whether it was St. Martins or Severn, for some reason I have had more input into these book covers than at any time in my career.
I am a huge, HUGE, Rat Pack fan, which is the reason I’m writing these books in the first place. With book #4 I went just outside the Rat Pack to their extended family member, Marilyn Monroe. With the new one, book #5, I’M A FOOL TO KILL YOU, I used my favorite screen siren, Ava Gardner. Her marriage to Frank made her fair game, plus the fact that Frank wrote the lyrics of “I’m A Fool To Love You” specifically for her.
Eddie G. and Jerry Epstein are asked by Frank to look into Ava’s blackout to see if she actually killed the gangster she woke up in bed next to in a Chicago Hotel. Of course, Dino is around, and Sammy accompanies Eddie to a Chicago meeting with mob boss Sam “Momo” Giancana. Joey Bishop does a cameo, and Peter Lawford finds himself on the outs with Frank, at this point. Since I’m with Frank on this point, Peter finds himself out of the book (he was also replaced by Frank with Bing Crosby in the movie Robin and The 7 Hoods).
(Lawford sidebar: I always wondered what the hell this stiff-backed actor was doing on stage with the other four. Turns out there was a time during his career when he had a stage act with—guess who—Jimmy Durante.)
Some nice things have been said about my depiction of Ava Gardner in this book. Actually, this one and the Marilyn are two of my favorites in this series. The next book, FLY ME TO THE MORGUE, is only 6 months away and features Bing Crosby, with a cameo by Bob Hope.
Future books includes appearances by Howard Hughes and Jimmy Durante, and the effect Frank Jr.’s kidnapping and JFK’s assassination have on Frank, as they occurred only weeks apart at the end of 1963.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love this. I can eat, sleep and dream the Rat Pack. This looks great, and I wish Bob every success.
Whenever I'm blue, I put a Sinatra CD into my phono, and pretty soon I'm fine again.