Loonies in Hollywood

Hollywood writer Chet Koski is targeted by a blackmailer, accused of murdering his wife’s former boyfriend, discovers his wife was kidnapped, gives a 22-year old flapper a gin bath, and has his new radio stolen. When he discovers the killer of silent film director William Desmond Taylor, he realizes his view of Hollywood will never again be so innocent. Based on a true story.

Was the killer teenage actress Mary Miles Minter who threw herself at the middle-aged Taylor? Or was it Mary’s over protective mother, Charlotte Shelby, who threatened men, including Taylor, who came too close to her money making daughter? Could it have been the last person to see Taylor alive, actress Mabel Normand. Then there is a blackmailer who knew of Taylor’s secret past and present day secrets. What about Taylor’s former valet, a thief, who has stolen from Taylor on more than one occasion-and he is missing. 

I liked Chet Koski and his girlfriend, Broadway chorus girl, Eveleen Sullivan, two of my main characters in my first e-novel “Loonies in the Dugout” so much I could not let them go. So I moved their lives from 1911 to 1922, where Chet, now a writer and Eveleen, still an actress, solve the murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor. I read three books, viewed a documentary, and explored other sources on the unsolved murder before tackling the story. I love the jazz age and in creating a flapper named Clancy, I had another character I fell in love with. She originally was a plot device, someone who could get Chet and Eveleen from A to B, but her first scene was so memorable I had to expand her part. She proved a nice change of pace within the story. She, like Chet and Eveleen, will return.

“Written in a classic noir style, Loonies in Hollywood is a fun romp through an era of Prohibition and the early years of film. Chester Koski, a writer for Famous-Players Lasky, is told by a studio executive to find out what happened at the bungalow of murdered silent film director William Desmond Taylor. . . the relationship between Chet and his wife, Eveleen had a bit of a Nick and Nora feel to it, and the banter between the two characters was natural and engaging. . . Following Chet through the labyrinth of Hollywood connections was both engaging and informative. The details of the time and place were so well done, the reader is there meeting the people and visiting the gin joints, the homes of the powerful and not so powerful in the business, and all the places that the pretentious like to be seen.”-Maryann, Amazon review

“I am an avid member of the group of people who still ask that question- Who killed William Desmond Taylor? I own most of the books about it and avidly keep up with Taylorology on the Internet. This story is interesting in that it gives you a picture of that time in Hollywood and how this murder affected the industry. I am a firm believer that Hollywood did not want this solved because it would uncover skeletons the Studios would prefer to stay in their perspective closets. This story is a novel and has some zany incidents and characters and blends truth with fiction but it helps answer questions of why this was a murder that could not be solved but it does not solve the mystery. Entertaining and light reading kind of in the style of the old Hollywood Noir genre. I would recommend as fiction and Hollywood flavor in the 1922 atmosphere of the William Desmond Taylor scandal….” Avtanner, Amazon review.

“Loonies in Hollywood is an epic mystery told in the first person. The narrator makes the story more about the mystery around him than himself. It is done very well. It has a great deal of detail so you can really feel like you are in the era. I knew nothing about William Desmond Taylor or his murder before his book, so I can’t say how factual it all is, but it seems pretty credible. It was certainly entertaining.”-Ty Labar (review cut for unknown reasons by Amazon). Originally October 6, 2013.

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