cover image HOLLYWOOD TOUGH: A Shane Scully Novel

HOLLYWOOD TOUGH: A Shane Scully Novel

Stephen J. Cannell, , read by Paul Michael. . Audio Renaissance, $36.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55927-822-5

In his eighth novel, the third featuring L.A. supercop Shane Scully, veteran television writer and producer Cannell (The Rockford Files) takes readers on an entertaining, beneath-the-tinsel tour of Hollywood. His complex plot, clearly presented by narrator Michael, cleverly melds a Mafia move to infest film craft unions, a gangsta turf war and an LAPD sting operation that amusingly unspools into a multi-million-dollar runaway film fiasco. The mix of suspense and showbiz satire works well, but the author's most sterling achievement is his cast of full-blown, quirky, raffish characters. Michael employs an impressive array of dead-on accents to distinguish them. Wiseguy "Champagne" Dennis Valentine, who, between shootouts, delivers lectures on vegan dining, speaks in throaty Brooklynese; likable grifter Nicky Marcella's nervous whine is strictly from Jersey; and Farrell Champion, an A-list producer (who may have murdered a wife or two), speaks with an edgy bluster. Michael subtly handles the voices of women, Hispanics, African-Americans, obnoxious agents and arrogant superstars. Strangely, his invention wanes when it comes to the hero's voice; he uses his normal actor's locution. While it is well-suited for storytelling purposes, it's a bit refined for a knockabout guy like Shane. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's hardcover (Forecasts, Jan. 13). (Jan.)