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Death by Hollywood

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  338 ratings  ·  64 reviews
From the acclaimed co-creator of Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and NYPD Blue, Death by Hollywood is a suspenseful, shocking, and darkly comic crime novel about a screenwriter, a billionaire's wife, a murder, and, of course, a cop.

"There used to be a writer by the name of Merle Miller, who wrote that people in Hollywood are always touching you--not because they like you, bu
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Audio CD, Abridged, 0 pages
Published September 9th 2003 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 507)
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Heather
Cheesy, tabloidy, and an annoying perspective on Hollywood. I put it down. Although, I did learn the word 'shitbird', so there's that.
Tiffany
Dec 21, 2007 Tiffany rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noone
Shelves: gave-up
Wasn't motivated to finshing this book. Disappointing writing from a great TV writer...he's so full of himself that's it's sad.
Louise Armstrong
I love the plot of this one - the only problem is that the motive for one characters switch of heart wasn't explained fully - otherwise first rate.
A fast, funny read.

It's written in the present tense: 'It's later that night, and the air temperature in the Hills is still in the high seventies, thanks to a blast furnace of a Santa Ana blowing in from the desert toward the ocean, leaving Hollywood a hot, glistening jewel under a shimmering starlit sky.'

When, a weather report and where covered thoro
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Lynn Pribus
Abandoned.

Downloaded it on the basis of the Bochco name and it started out not too bad. Some cynical L.A. wit and dialogue.

But then it degenerated into consistent vulgarity and sleaze and no one to really like. I have books waiting that have much more promise like a Sharon McCrumb mystery that opens with the hanging of an elephant for murder. I think. I've only listened to a little bit.
Stephanie
I thought that DEATH BY HOLLYWOOD was mediocre and it moved very quickly, so quick in fact that I didn't even realize when I was done.
Written in first person, DEATH BY HOLLYWOOD speaks heavily about the "glamourous" life of Hollywood actors, screenwriters, and their agents. We follow Bobby, a writer who is down on his luck. He catches his wife in action cheating on him, his agent fires him, and he witnesses a murder all in the same day.

He uses this murder to his advantage in hopes that he can ma
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Christy
I probably shouldn't like this book. It wasn't very well written, it was lurid, the characters unlikeable, it read like a guy giving a pitch for a crap movie, and the plot was looser than the characters (I'm talking about sex there). Despite that, I liked it. It was trashy, full of sex, it was easy to read, and the plot was cliched but fun. It also included the phrase "throw her the hump" which I shall try and drop into conversation. It probably wouldn't have been published had it not been writt ...more
Linda
Bochco is truly funny. Most of his stuff is a cross between mystery and humor. I adore him!
Dora
Didn't finish; don't even remember the premise; just thought it was dumb.
Perry Whitford
Screenwriter Bobby Newman's prospects are not looking good. He has writer's block and a deadline looming, he can't stop drinking himself into a stupor and he has just discovered that his actress wife Vee is playing "grab-ass" with a well dressed guy outside the Peninsula Hotel.
His agent, who is also the narrator, has lost patience with making excuses for Bobby and promptly fires him. But just as he seems down on his luck, out of work, his marriage over after a confrontation with Vee, Bobby witn
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Ian
The author of Death by Hollywood has won ten Emmys for shows like Hill Street Blues, LA Law and NYPD Blue, but this is his first and, so far, only novel.

The story revolves around a murder witnessed by a peeping Tom writer and its subsequent investigation by veteran cop Dennis Farentino. When the cop finds a Latino stud dead in his bedroom the chance of answering the questions who and why seem remote with no leads to go on. Farentino, however, is a Columbo fan and decides to let the story come to
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Helen
On first glance an amusing look at undercover Hollywood and all it's sleaze and backstabbing, politics and amorality written by someone who should know. It's a sort of Hollyweird morality tale with a twist - a homage to Columbo, and as such a murder mystery essentially. However, whilst I enjoyed the writing style and the plot, and whilst I'm not usually Mary Whitehouse, I actually found the language and sexual aspects to be a bit too much for me to enjoy it. It was cringeworthy and shocking (wel ...more
Jim
I re-read this on a Saturday, looking for something that would grip as much as The Insider did. Yes, it was good, but not as good as I remembered.
(First Read Aug 2005)
I won't read a more entertaining book this year, that's for sure. This whipped along at pace, and had me laughing out loud at the cynical observations on people and life in general, although the author couldn't seem to resist fitting in an old joke about every ten pages for laughs. It was almost like he had a formula, where if he h
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Vickie
A story within a story within real life...or is the other way around?
This book reads like a narrative of events involving Bobby, a drunken screenwriter with writers block, from the point of view of his agent. Bobby witnesses the murder of an acting coach who beds almost any and every aspiring and known actress in Hollywood. Deciding that he could write a real time screenplay he ingratiates himself in the lives of all the people left in the wake of the death, including the actress who committed
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Kate
I really enjoyed this. The author's name was familiar to me but I couldn't place any of his books. I discovered then that this is his only novel but he has been the writer on many tv shows - Hill Street Blues, LA Law, etc. This is a cleverly written story which takes place in Hollywood, has twists and turns and snappy dialogue. Too bad Bochco doesn't pen another. He does it well.
Kimberly Ylitalo
If the stars rating system had 1/2-star increments, I might have given this one a 3 1/2. It was such a FUN romp and took me a good ways on my long trip back from Newburgh, Indiana, to Tulsa, OK. Will be looking for others by this famous television screenwriter/creator of shows "NYPD Blue" and "Hillstreet Blues."

Janet
Have been a Steven Bochco fan for quite some time. His murder mystery has a washed-up writer, his agent, a beautiful trophy wife, the writer's sexy actress wife, a Latin-lover dramatic teacher, a cop...You frame that with Bochco's insider knowledge of Hollywood and this becomes not only a thriller, but a bit of a roman a clef. Bochco does his fair share of name dropping, thinly veiled characters whom he may have had a beef with....I am sure I recognized at least one, and some characterizations o ...more
Marguerite Kaye
Steven Bocho has won loads of awards for his screenplays including one of my faves, NYPD Blue. You can tell he's a screenwriter, the pace is non-stop and you can practically hear them shouting 'cut' between scenes. I agree with what a few people have said about this book. It's about shallow people, it's self-indulgent, it's far-fetched. But... That's what I expected. It's also funny, dark, very well-written, and for what I took it for - something entertaining to read when I'm tired and need to g ...more
Desislava
Entertaining , funny, amuzing. Havent read a thriller like that.
Marybeth Cullom
Boring and predictable. Listless book from the beginning.
Liz Horrey
Disappointed with this as I love his TV work.
James
Rushed, untamed, somewhat humorous bric-a-brac. Intriguing, but ultimately unrewarding.
RJ
3 stars for Dennis Franz's audiobook narration mostly. If you've seen Franz in Die Hard 2 you are aware that 4-letter words roll off his tongue with such natural fluidity. He does not disappoint here.

As for the story, it's mostly a flimsy thing, with many detours off the main drag, especially a transparent shot at David Caruso re his NYPD Blue departure. Good fun if you're driving somewhere and can pick this book up cheap, otherwise beware.
Lisa
Decent if not tired storyline, disappointing though in execution.
Julie Marks
Inadvertently witnessing a murder was a stroke of luck for struggling Hollywood screenwriter Billy Newman when life and art begin to imitate one another almost simultaneously. Narrator Eddie Jelko shares many dark secrets of the film industry as he tells a sometimes sordid tale with many twists and turns making this a fun and sexy fast paced mystery. "True Blue" Bochco for fans of his popular television series.
Jack
The ending ssaved this book. I was leaning two stars till the last 50 pages. A little to much sex sex sex but it would make a great movie. Since it is a Steven Bochco novel that is a distintct possibility! One funny thing is that I dont think I have ever seen such HUGE margins in a book! Maybe it should have been classified as a novelette! I read it in less than a day.
Fran
Feb 18, 2009 Fran rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone with absolutely nothing else to read
Recommended to Fran by: bought it at a used bookstore.
The premise is that a down-and-out screenwriter witnesses a murder and wants to use that actual murder for his own screenplay. It is an intriguing idea and could have been a good book except that it has a lot of gratuitous sex, and pretty depraved, disgusting sex at that. I had bought it for a dollar at a used bookstore thinking "how bad could it be?" Answer: Pretty bad.
James
Ha, great beach read, finished it in one sitting. Phillip Marlow style first person, a bit dated but has it's own charm for that. It's gritty (lots of F words) and littered with very real, very insightful no holds barred observations on humans and human interactions. Loved it, worth 4-5 stars for it's type of literature but not enough depth overall to make it great Lit.
Mary
Entertaining with a nice twist at the end
Marti
Thia book had a number of jokes in it, and a sort of Shakespearian tragedy spirit about it. The characters, none of them, are particularly admirable, but it is a fun read. A Kirkus quote on the back cover called it, "A vulgar sex-filled romp--in the best sense: good, nasty fun." It might make a reader happy that he or she lives a mundane life.
Jennifer
Great plot but author goes off on tangents too much. Very "dirty rotten scoundrel" murder mystery type of story in self absorbed Hollywood. Plenty of twists.
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