DEATH BY HOLLYWOOD

Steven Bochco, Author . Random $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6156-3

This clever debut novel by the creator of Hill St. Blues, NYPD Blue and other hit TV shows is as smooth and rich as the name-brand Chardonnays preferred by many of the book's fabulously conflicted Tinseltown characters. Narrator Eddie Jelko, an A-level agent, sets the stage by declaring, "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." Eddie's screenwriter client Bobby Newman's career is fading fast: he can't get a handle on a long-overdue screenplay, his drinking is out of control and his wife is having an affair with a sleazebag director. One drunken evening, Bobby sits down with his Bushnell telescope and spies on a couple making love in a nearby house. When they've finished, they begin to argue, and the woman, whom Bobby recognizes as a wealthy socialite, hauls off and kills her lover with an acting trophy. In any other town, Bobby would report the crime, but instead he sees it as both the solution to his writer's block and a vehicle to the top of the Hollywood heap. The story proceeds apace; the twists and turns are predictable but amusing, the agent jokes are funny and the O. Henry–style ending ties everything up with an attractive bow. A publisher's letter and star-treatment interview with Bochco attempt to add weight to this pleasing, slick-as-silk fiction, but there's no need for such addenda. The book is fast, fun, sexy and delivers plenty of inside dope on movie stars and their wacky lives. That's enough for millions of readers who aren't interested in slogging their way through War and Peace. Relax, guys, it's gonna be a hit. Agent, Mort Janklow. (Sept. 16)

Forecast:Television watchers who have followed Bochco's career since Columbo will relish the roman à clef elements as the author settles a few scores, and major promotional moves by Random House will get books moving fast and early.

Reviewed on: 07/28/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-7475-7155-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-7475-7110-0
Open Ebook - 145 pages - 978-1-58836-340-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-0700-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-1473-9
Hardcover - 342 pages - 978-0-375-43298-9
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-0701-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-0-345-46687-7
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-5224-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-7366-9592-3
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