Walter Steele, who charges a sawbuck for a week’s worth of his services — as an investigator, enforcer or deliverer of messages…whatever you need — survived the war but he carries scars where they can’t be seen.
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 (his website), 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.