Sunday, February 24, 2008


Well it's oscar season and you can take a walk down the red carpet with these titles:

Abbott, Megan. The Song Is You (Simon & Schuster $14). From her website, "Drawing on this true-life missing person case, Megan Abbott’s The Song Is You tells the story of Gil “Hop” Hopkins, a smooth-talking Hollywood publicist whose career, despite a complicated personal life, is on the rise. It is 1951, two years after Jean Spangler’s disappearance and Hop finds himself unwillingly drawn into the still-unsolved mystery by a friend of Jean’s who blames Hop for concealing details about Jean’s whereabouts the night she vanished. Driven by guilt and fears of blackmail, Hop delves into the case himself, feverishly trying to stay one step ahead of an intrepid female reporter also chasing the story. Hop thought he’d seen it all, but what he uncovers both tantalizes and horrifies him as he plunges deeper and deeper into Hollywood’s substratum in his attempt to uncover the truth. With noir fiction really hot, noir giant Ken Bruen calls Abbott's second novel after her Edgar nominated Die a Little ($23) – soon to be a major motion picture for Jessica Biehl – a "Superb evocation of the era and the legendary characters live and breathe in glorious dark reality. Megan Abbott is the song and a song of such yearning, such granite tenderness ... This is the most poignant novel you'll ever come across." Die a Little
a 2005 Poisoned Pen First Mystery Pick.

Ellroy, James. The Black Dahlia (Warner $7.50). was a 2005 Poisoned Pen First Mystery Pick.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer notes: "Los Angeles, 1947: The mutilated body of a beautiful young woman -- dubbed the Black Dahlia by the press -- is found, spawning the greatest manhunt in California history. Warrants Squad cops Buckeye Bleacher and Lee Blanched are on the case, and soon become obsessed with the victim. They are driven to learn everything about her, and find that their pursuit of her killer and her twisted past lead them on a hellish tour of post-war Hollywood and into a region of total madness."

Goldstein, Paul. Errors and Omissions (Anchor $14).

The Lillick Professor of Law at Stanford University uses his formidable legal skills in international

copyright to forge a debut novel. Publishers Weekly reviews the way Goldstein, who worked on a famous case about ownership of the James Bond film franchise, "tosses his burned-out litigator, Michael Seeley, into the middle of a movie studio's homicidal battle to continue to control the rights to a fabulously successful spy series. This adaptation, which dips back into Hollywood's blacklist era, is a pretty intellectual property itself, depending more on character and motivation and moral ambiguity than action and suspense…. Goldstein enjoys writing scenes in which several people converse at a fast clip." A 2006 Poisoned Pen First Mystery Pick.

, Russell
. Robbie's Wife (Hardcase Crime $6.99).

A 2008 Edgar nominee presents Jack Stone. Jack Stone fled Los Angeles, a failed marriage, and a failing

career as a screenwriter to spend six months in the remote English countryside, hammering out the new script that would put him back on top. But what he found wasn’t solitude and peace—it was temptation. Because Maggie Barlow, the wife of the man putting him up, had something irresistible about her. Something that could drive a man to kill....

McNamara, Mary. Oscar Season (SimonSchuster $26 Signed).

Screenwriter McNamara pens a lively debut, a classic Agatha-Christie style mystery wrapped up

in a Hollywood/Beverly Hills version of Hotel. The management of a luxury hotel that caters to stars – the potential Oscars nominees – and the ploys of the Hollywood crowd in the two to three month run-up to the awards are as fascinating as the actual murders. Hip, funny, yet wickedly insightful into the celebrity culture, this is a timely, entertaining read. A Poisoned Pen First Mystery Pick.

Phillips, Max. Fade to Blonde (Hardcase Crime $6.99).

Ray Corson came to Hollywood to be a screenwriter, not hired muscle. But when a beautiful girl with a purse full of cash asks for your help, how can you say no? So Corson agrees to protect starlet Rebecca LaFontaine from a vengeful mobster — but what he doesn’t realize is that he’ll have to join the Mob to do it. Author George Pelecanos calls this hardboiled whodunit, "Chandleresque." And of course for various takes on LA and Hollywood, read Chandler's work along with Ellroy's L A Confidential ($15) and the Harry Bosch novels of Michael Connelly.

Wright, Edward. Red Sky Lament ($13).

Winner of the 2006 Ellis Peters Dagger for Best Historical Mystery, a novel in the John Ray Horn series set in late

1940s Hollywood when the McCarthy scare led to the Blacklist. Former B-movie cowboy star Horn, forging a life after prison and disgrace, agrees to help a brilliant but difficult screenwriter accused of having belong to the Communist Party. Star Wright's Horn series with Clea's Moon ($13), a Poisoned Pen First Mystery Pick.

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