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by Stephen J. Cannell
St. Martin's Press, January 2003
346 pages
ISBN: 0312291027

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

There comes a time when after writing some good and entertaining novels, a lemon must fall. We enjoyed his first thriller THE PLAN about a foiled political conspiracy. We were shocked by a serial killerís antics in FINAL VICTIM. We laughed out loud with the hilarious KING CON. But now, all good things come to an end. In the library of Stephen J. Cannellís novels, HOLLYWOOD TOUGH is the weakest book of the bunch.

Shane Scully, who was first introduced in THE TIN COLLECTORS, is back on the police force. He is now married and the proud father of a teenage son he never knew he had. During a Hollywood party hosted by one of his wifeís friends, he reconnects with a former confidential informant and small-time grifter. Nicky Marcella claims to have gone straight and heads a small movie studio named Cine Roma. He asks the cop if he could help him find an actress he knew for a movie he wants to film. Seeing no harm and owing him a couple of favors, Shane tracks Carol White, who is now a shadow of her former self. Disappointed, Nicky thanks Shane and that is it for now. The next day, Carol is found murdered. The grifter is too stupid to commit a murder and he is afraid for his life. A New Jersey mobster is targeting movie studios with a supposedly foolproof scheme. He is no Chili Palmer, but it would have been a better alternative to read Elmore Leonardís GET SHORTY instead of this novel.

The scheme the LAPD comes to nab the mobster is so silly and so over the top that THE A-TEAM would not have touched it with a ten-foot pole. The characters do not work at all in this book; the ones in KING CON would have been a better fit. The author tries to write a satirical novel of Hollywood using cutouts and stereotypes of people he might have met while working as a television producer. There are times the book could have saved itself, but by then it is to late. Shane Scully was wasted here. Cannellís best work is on his standalone novels. Try the DEVILíS WORKSHOP or KING CON if you want to be entertained. This one will just leave a permanent imprint on you wall, it is just not worth it.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, June 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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