A brash detective enters the Hollywood fast lane-jammed with the sort of wealth, glamour, and blackmail it is famous for-in this new thriller by the bestselling author of the Stone Barrington series. Stuart Woods's new novel is a sexy, action packed thriller in the tradition of his best. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote about his last novel, Capital Crimes, "Woods knows how to deliver a taut, well-told tale....The last two paragraphs will make any reader gulp."In The Prince of Beverly Hills, set in Hollywood's Golden Age of the 1930s, Woods introduces a new character that possesses the kind of suave confidence, take-charge manner, and clever wit-under-pressure that his fans will recognize and love at first sight. Rick Barron, a sharp, capable detective on the Beverly Hills force, finds himself demoted after a run-in with his captain, but soon lands a job on the security detail for Centurion Pictures, one of the hottest studios. As the protector of the studio's interests, Barron looks after the cream of the crop of filmdom's stars-Clete Barrow, the British leading man with a penchant for parties; and Glenna Gleason, a peach of a talent on the verge of superstardom.
A recently demoted police detective gets caught up in the privileged and often dangerous world of 1939 Hollywood in Wood's solid 29th novel. His first night back in uniform, Rick Barron witnesses a car accident in which Clete Barrow, a drunk Hollywood A-lister, is involved. Though the other driver dies, Rick performs "Hollywood damage control," whisking Clete away from the scene. Centurion Studios' vice-president, grateful for Rick's "professional ethics," offers him the director of security post previously held by John Kean, who died in a suspicious murder-suicide a month earlier. Rick delivers Clete to the sets on time and keeps the star's drinking problem in check while dining at restaurants buzzing with vintage Hollywood royalty like Greta Garbo, Jack Benny and Spencer Tracy. He also comes to the studio's rescue again by covering up gorgeous starlet Glenna Gleason's apparent suicide attempt and budding actress Martha Werner's botched abortion. X-rated pictures that Rick finds in Kean's old safe get him into discussions with L.A. mob boss Bugsy Siegal while ducking blows from his henchman, Chick Stampano, who, along with Glenna and the Keans, appears in those pics. While romancing Glenna and gaining heroic notoriety, Rick learns of Stampano's involvement in a variety of crime scenes and, after the violence notches up, the men square off in an exciting head-to-head climax. Woods's sturdy, self-assured crime thriller is satisfying enough to expand an already immense fan base. Agent, Anne Sibbald at Janklow & Nesbit. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 04, 2005
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Excerpt from The Prince of Beverly Hills by Stuart Woods
RICK BARRON HEARD THE HOWL of the engine from at least a block away. He was not happy to be sitting in a patrol car at the corner of Sunset and Camden at two A.M. on a summer evening in 1939; he was not happy to be wearing a badge with the rank designation of Police Officer, instead of the detective's badge he had worn until the day before; and he was not happy to be in a uniform, instead of a suit. The stiff, new cloth itched.
He looked to his right, toward Ciro's and the Mocambo and the rest of the clubs on the Strip. At this hour, Sunset was devoid of traffic, except for one set of large headlights rushing toward him at a high rate of speed. Rick started the patrol car. This might be fun, he thought.
Then he saw the other car. It was a Model A Ford coupe, and it was across the boulevard, coming toward him down Camden, about to stop at Sunset. Only it didn't stop. The little car drove right through the stop sign, moving slowly, toward the safety of Camden on the other side of Sunset. Rick's mouth dropped open; this couldn't be happening. He looked at the oncoming speeder and had just enough time to identify it as a Mercedes-Benz SSK, top down, before it struck the little coupe broadside. The powerful sports car had been doing at least sixty, Rick thought, and it had never even braked.
The coupe collapsed as if it had been made of tinfoil, absorbing nearly the entire force of the crash, then spun toward the side of the road and came to rest, hard, against a telephone pole. The Mercedes was not stopped, only deflected. It skidded sideways toward the opposite side of the street, struck the curb and rolled over, flinging its driver into a high oleander hedge before coming to rest in an upright position. Rick picked up the microphone.
"This is car 102. I've got a serious car accident at Sunset and Camden. Request an ambulance and another patrol car immediately."