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Death by Hollywood: A Novel
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Death by Hollywood: A Novel

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  493 Ratings  ·  83 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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 9th 2003 by Random House (first published January 1st 2003)
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Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
ok storyline...bit disappointed with the of Mr.Bochco's tv shows but don't think he should dive into books/writing (paperback!)
Craig Sisterson
I've been a big fan of Steven Bochco's television crime writing - while Hill Street Blues was a bit before my time, I loved LA Law and Doogie Howser, MD as a kid. Then, for my mind, it was actually NYPD Blue that began our current golden age of television writing (most people point to the West Wing/Sopranos when cable TV like HBO started pushing boundaries and delivering very high-quality narratives - but NYPD Blue was truly groundbreaking, and led the way for those shows, even doing so on netwo ...more
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldntfinish
Cheesy, tabloidy, and an annoying perspective on Hollywood. I put it down. Although, I did learn the word 'shitbird', so there's that.
Dec 10, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  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.
The Cats Mother
I picked this off the shelf because I needed something I could read in a day (I have book club this afternoon and wanted one more for the bag, which is emptier than usual after reading too many ebooks recently.) This was donated by a friend having a clear out, and I had never heard of the author, who is apparently a well known American script writer, for TV shows I've never watched.

Alcoholic screen-writer Bobby has a severe case of writer's block, so when he witnesses a murder through his teles
Louise Armstrong
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lynn Pribus
Mar 13, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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.
Oct 12, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't finish; don't even remember the premise; just thought it was dumb.
Dec 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Bochco is truly funny. Most of his stuff is a cross between mystery and humor. I adore him!
Aug 04, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I know Bochco from his television work, namely "Hill Street Blues" and "NYPD Blue." He should stick with television.

Between the glaringly transparent jabs at people he's worked with in the past, the casual misogyny, and the rather juvenile story, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.
Perry Whitford
Feb 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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, 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 witnesses s
George Kelly
“The story I want to tell you involves, among other things, a screenwriter whose career is fading out more than it’s fading in, a billionaire’s wife, and a murder . . .”

Death by Hollywood is a shallow attempt to expose and lampoon all the shady, unscrupulous, ego-driven sociopaths who run the American film industry.

In Popcorn, Ben Elton approached a similar subject (albeit from a different angle), but whereas he ripped into his subject with cutting insights and still maintained a moral epicentr
Eddie Jelko is an agent in Hollywood representing many different talented people but he feels that his time representing screenwriter Bobby Newman has come to an end. Bobby used to be a sought-after writer but too much booze has turned Bobby into a hack who can't write a grocery list these days. The night that Bobby's wife Vee finally walks out on their marriage Bobby spends a drunken evening looking through his telescope peeping on his neighbors in the affluent Hollywood Hills. What he sees is ...more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Carlos Miguel Zapata
Esta novela fresca y agradable, nos cuenta la historia de un guionista, Bobby Newman, cuya carrera va en decadencia, es testigo de un asesinato, un crimen de caracter sexual que puede salpicar a gente famosa. En lugar de denunciar dicho crimen a la policia, decide cultarlo, planteandose, a raiz de lo que ha visto, escrbir un guión, teniendo como base el asesinato.

En esta historia el autor, Steven Bochco, nos presenta la cara del Hollywood, que regularmente no es visto en las pantallas de cine, n
Nov 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Steven Bochco wasn't such a great writer I probably would have really disliked this book. Women are reduced to sexual objects who are only relevant in the way they make the male characters of the book feel about themselves and the entertainment industry is reduced to an immoral den of vice (and as an actress I have the naive viewpoint of knowing a lot of amazing ethical people in this business and very few jerks, granted I work in the indie world...) Still Bochco is a fast, funny and energize ...more
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
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
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
Mugizi Rwebangira
This is pure trashy entertainment, but it's pretty good for what it is.

Actually, what's funny is that I'd read Steven Bochco's autobiography just before reading this and he uses a lot of the SAME stories in this novel. The main narrator also sounds like just Bochco, although he is an agent instead of a producer.

The main thing that a lot of people didn't like about it is that you can't really cheer for any of the main characters who all lie, cheat, steal in some cases even commit murder for pers
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audiobook
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.
Julie Marks
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beach-read
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.
Aug 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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."

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