Phony Tinsel-Robert S. Levinson

Phony Tinsel
Robert S. Levinson
Five Star, Feb 6 2013, $25.95
ISBN 9781432826796

Wannabe screenwriter Charlie Dickens writes a script for Showdown at Shadow Creek. His agent Roy Balloon tried selling the script to the studios but all rejected it. After Balloon fires Dickens for his hitless batting average, the desperate author decides after seeing Cecil B. DeMille’s 1920s silent film The Ten Commandments he needs to produce his movie. As he invades the estate of the producer in the Hollywood Hills, he concludes this is like going to Heaven without dying.

However, Charlie enters the wrong mansion as he breaks into the home of producer Maxwell Moonglow. Greeting him in a sexy towel is Moonglow’s wife actress Sarah Darling. Instead of concern about her uninvited guest, Sarah is used to lovers visiting her. Seductive, she persuades Charlie to execute her plan to kill Max in spite of the screenwriter struggling between two women sort of in his life. With nothing going right even Max’s filming his script seems ill-fated for key players, Charlie revises his muse to this is like going to Hell without dying.

This femme fatale 1930s twisting thriller is an enjoyable tale that will remind readers of Double Indemnity but with a comedic twist. The fast-paced lighthearted storyline is fun to read as Charlie navigates the Hollywood scene leaving behind corpses in his wake.

Harriet Klausner

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