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by Robert Weibezahl
Quiet Storm Books, May 2005
232 pages
ISBN: 0975857142

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

This first mystery features a screenwriter looking at a series of suspicious deaths in Hollywood Normally, a Hollywood screenwriter would write a script about murder, rather than investigating any in real life. However, Billy Winnetka finds himself drawn into an investigation despite himself when the wife of a long-time producer friend is suspicious about the cause of his death.

Harold Clausen was not any better or any worse than others in the industry; it's possible because he needed some money that he may have been involved in some illicit activities but nothing that would cause him to end up at Alcatraz or anything.

And why is Billy investigating instead of the police? Billy takes an immediate dislike to the lead inspector, Detective Goold, and almost as a matter of stubbornness decides to check things out on his own. What he uncovers is amazing -- various individuals who worked on a controversial religious picture almost a dozen years earlier have been dying in 'accidents'. It doesn't feel like all of those accidents are a matter of coincidence.

And they aren't. I liked the protagonist who was a thoroughly engaging character, although I felt that his relationship situation played out a little too predictably. My only real gripe with the book was the antagonism between Winnetka and Detective Goold. I just didn't buy the fact that Billy felt so much antipathy to him that he would place his own life in danger.

Weibezahl does a superb job in his depiction of various areas in southern California; I have a feeling that residents of that state are going to particularly like this book because it paints a wonderful picture of the unique appeal of several Californian settings.

Fans of character-driven mysteries are going to love THE WICKED AND THE DEAD and its leading man, Billy Winnetka.

Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen, September 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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