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Death by Hollywood

A Novel

Death by Hollywood by Steven Bochco
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From the acclaimed co-creator of Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and NYPD Blue, Death by Hollywood is a suspenseful, shocking, and darkly comic crime novel about a screenwriter, a billionaire's wife, a murder, and, of course, a cop.

"There used to be a writer by the name of Merle Miller, who wrote that people in Hollywood are always touching you--not because they like you, but because they want to see how soft you are before they eat you alive."
So begins this seductive and surprising novel by two-time Edgar Award–winning writer Steven Bochco, in which a down-on-his-luck screenwriter named Bobby Newman tries to turn a brutal murder into his next movie payday.

One day, while spying on his Hollywood Hills neighbors through his $4,000 Bushnell XR90 electronic telescope, Bobby sees a beautiful socialite making love to a handsome Latin actor named Ramon. When their pillow talk takes a turn for the ugly, Bobby watches in horror as the woman bludgeons her lover to death with his own acting trophy. Deciding to write about it instead of reporting it to the cops, Bobby insinuates himself into Detective Dennis Farentino’s murder investigation, forging an unusual friendship with the cop that turns out to be more complex than either of them had bargained for. Before long, Bobby has dragged the detective, his estranged wife, his lover, and his agent into a Hollywood fun-house hall of mirrors, where only the most manipulative player will survive.

Savvy, funny, sexy, and streetwise, Death by Hollywood is the tale Steven Bochco couldn't tell on television. It is the work of an ingenious storyteller, certain to enthrall readers from beginning to end.


From the Hardcover edition.
Random House Publishing Group; September 2003
ISBN 9781588363404
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Death by Hollywood
Author: Steven Bochco
 
Excerpt
CHAPTER 1

There used to be a writer by the name of merle Miller, who wrote that people in Hollywood are always touching you—not because they like you, but because they want to see how soft you are before they eat you alive. He was right. It’s a tough town and a tough business, and if you don’t watch your step, either one’ll kill you, which I guess is what this story is actually about.

By way of formal introduction, my name is Eddie Jelko, and I’m an agent. I represent screenwriters, primarily, and a few important directors. I used to represent actors when I first started in the business almost twenty years ago, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that actors are crazy. They tend to be paranoid, narcissistic, and, in general, oblivious to the needs and feelings of others. The good news is, they can also be charming, seductive, charismatic, and, in the case of the very few, so genuinely gifted that simply being in their presence is a privilege. That said, celebrity, for the ego-challenged, can be as destructive as heroin. A little is too much, as they say, and too much is never enough.

In my naïveté, I thought writers and directors would be different. Fat chance. They’re just as loony. In fact, the entertainment industry as a whole is one giant dysfunctional family. Everyone’s terrified—of their own failure, or of everyone else’s success—and as a general rule, you can assume that everyone lies about everything. (Have you ever looked at an actor’s résumé—at the bottom, under special skills? Speaks three languages. Black belt in martial arts. Rides horses and motorcycles. Juggling and acrobatics. The truth is, you’re lucky if they can drive a fucking car.)

And agents? By and large, we’re nothing more than well-paid pimps who represent our pooched-out clients as if they’re beautiful young virgins, offering them up to a bunch of jaded johns who know better, but these are the only whores in town. As the saying goes, denial is not a river in Egypt. It’s a river in Hollywood, and it runs deep, and brown.

The story I want to tell you involves, among other things, a screenwriter whose career is fading out more than it’s fading in, a billionaire’s wife, and a murder—which means, of course, there’s also a cop. Plus, the story has one other thing going for it. It’s true.

Would I lie to you?


From the Hardcover edition.
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ISBNs
1588363406
9781400061563
9781588363404