Saturday, November 10, 2012
PLAY HIM AGAIN by Jeffrey Stone
I was offered this ebook by the author and, although I rarely do so, I accepted. The synopsis appealed to me because it is set in 1928 Los Angeles and the hero is a rumrunner and would-be producer of talking movies.
While I was reading the book, I just happened to see a program on TV about this era in L.A. which showed what's left of some of the speakeasies and tunnels where the booze was kept. The mayor and much of the police force ran the racket so the mob never took over as happened in Chicago. This enhanced my reading pleasure.
Matthew "Hud" Hudson is our hero, although a crook. Ships bring booze from Canada and rumrunners like Hud offload it and smuggle it into L.A. They make tons of money despite the fact that occasionally someone gets greedy and hijacks their booze. It's during such a time that Hud's best lifelong friend is tortured and murdered. He vows vegeance against Frank Minetti, the goon who was responsible.
Meanwhile, Hud has fallen in love with a woman who isn't involved in the "business" and she isn't comfortable with what's going on. Hud actually, in his own way, is an honorable man and his friends are loyal. His real passion is for movies and he's been stashing his money away to get into the movie business, but plans to keep on rumrunning because it's so profitable.
Along the way we learn a lot about smuggling, cons, Chinatown gambling run by tongs, and the early movie business. This is what lifts the book above an ordinary read to a satisfying one. Thrills and chills plus 1928 L.A. What more can you ask?
I can happily recommend this book and I'm looking forward to the sequel. It is available from Smashwords.