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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Black comedy
As a first novel, this is excellent, although Bochco's TV pedigree indicates we shouldn't be surprised that this is a first class read.

With a plot line that twists and turns, a wisecracking narrative and a heavy dose of black humour, you will find yourself drawn into the tale. And Bochco has drawn a series of venal, amoral self absorbed characters, whose rush...
Published on 8 July 2007 by Andy Edwards

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Death by Book
Death by Hollywood is a satire on Hollywood, a shallow attempt to expose and lampoon all of the shady moralism in the American film industry. And it's decent, except for the lack of depth to the story. Ben Elton manages to write satire, manages to rip apart his subjects with cutting satire, and still maintain a moral epicentre in his books, a certain depth that most...
Published 5 months ago by George Kelly


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Black comedy, 8 July 2007
By 
Andy Edwards "staxasoul" (Essex UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death by Hollywood (Paperback)
As a first novel, this is excellent, although Bochco's TV pedigree indicates we shouldn't be surprised that this is a first class read.

With a plot line that twists and turns, a wisecracking narrative and a heavy dose of black humour, you will find yourself drawn into the tale. And Bochco has drawn a series of venal, amoral self absorbed characters, whose rush to get ahead in Hollywood, provides the backdrop for all that goes on - and there's lots going on, including at least 3 major ideas for films/TV shows, murder, and sex aplenty.

Highly recommended to all fans of the crime genre, this has more than enough originality for me to want a follow up.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder, Hollywood Style, 4 Jan 2008
By 
Laurel Whitehead (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death by Hollywood (Paperback)
There is just something about a book written by a Hollywood insider that grabs your attention. You pick it up at your local bookstore or buy it from Amazon.com (preferably as a discounted paperback), hoping it will live up to the promise of the words on the back cover. That they almost never do, that they are almost always trash, is a sad fact of life.
But sometimes you can be surprised. Sometimes those insiders really know their stuff and sometimes they can really churn out a story. And every now and then they tickle your fancy as you try and keep up with unforgetable characters who romp through a twisting and turning plot.

I found myself laughing aloud while I read along with Bochco's fictional agent Eddie Jelko as he narrated this book about kinky and kooky characters who people the Hollywood scene.

Jelko tells us about his client, screenwriter Bobby Newman, whose career is on a fast track to nowhere. One fateful night he's busy checking out his neighbors with a high powered telescope when he spies a couple in the throws of passion, however when the love makeing is finished, they fight and murder is done.

Even a normal, telescope-looking, peeping tom pervert would go to the cops, but not our quirky hero, because he sees opportunitiy knocking. Here is potential for a screenplay that will put Bobby back on the top of his game. He gets as close to the lady killer as one can possibly get and he gets involved with the detective investigating the case, all in the name of research for his screenplay.

This five star book gives us, actors and agents, screenwriters and their unfaithful wives, cops and killers, and it delivers them all to us Hollywood style.

I don't exactly know how to describe the way Bochco writes, other than to say that if you could cross breed the styles of Carl Hiaasen, Joseph Wambaugh and Elmore Leonord, you'd come close to Bochco's tone of voice. If you want to get a glimpse into a glimmering, glitzy, sometimes tawdry world and laugh while the author takes you along for his ride, I would highly recommend, "Death by Hollywood."

Reviewed by Captain Katie Osborne
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A successful conversion, 25 April 2005
This review is from: Death by Hollywood (Paperback)
Having created hit TV shows such as Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, Death by Hollywood is Steven Bochco's debut novel. As the title suggests, the book is set in Tinseltown and by using agent Eddie Jelko as narrator, Bochco immediately introduces the reader into this elite yet bizarre world.
"It's a tough town and a tough business, and if you don't watch your step either one'll kill you which I guess is what this story is actually about."
This slick warning prepares the reader for a journey into the warped world of the A-list celebrity. Bochco, a two-time Edgar Award winning writer, has produced a darkly comical crime novel having also installed elements of betrayal and seduction.
Bochco has described the novel as "a tale which he could not tell on television." This I do not agree with. After writing series after series about the crime ridden streets of New York, featuring countless events of drug raids and gang warfare, Bochco could very easily have adapted Death by Hollywood onto the small screen.
Having said that, the decision is that of Bochco's, a man very much qualified to make that choice.
At a glance, Death by Hollywood could be seen as just another crime novel. A down on his luck screenwriter, beautiful rich women, a murder and a detective may seem the usual ingredients to make another bland tale from the genre. However, Bochco does not focus upon the money and sex which these stars have, but the sordidness which has spread through this corrupt industry.
The novel does not stand out as something which could reinvent the genre, but Bochco's debut is a well crafted thought-provoking insight into a world which most of us will never truly see. How much of a true reflection he has conveyed is another story. After his own success in Hollywood, the reader has no choice but to believe him. JG
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood meets Homicide, 2 Dec 2003
By 
Andy Barkham "pandion1" (1picard) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death by Hollywood (Hardcover)
Steven Botchco's book looks at a murder in Hollywood through the refreshingly cynical eyes of an agent. The plot of the book is quite simple - a screen writer accidentally sees a murder take place and decides to write a screenplay about it instead of reporting the murder.
The book is quite short, pithily written and with a conversational style that suits the subject matter very well. It has a cynical tone throughout, freshened with doses of genuine humour which makes it all the more palatable. The characters are sketches rather than fully rounded out, but nevertheless it holds the attention well. The novel looks at the way in which Hollywood affects all those whose lives revolve around it - and the decisions they make. In doing so, Botchco makes some telling commentary about the morality of the whole Hollywood system.
Botchco has made the transition from screen to page well - and I for one hope that this is only the first of many novels
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple Story, 13 Sep 2004
By 
Mark Hughes (Worsley, Lancs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Death by Hollywood (Hardcover)
This book is a simple read and similar to reading a script the story is short but to the point with no boring bits to drag the story out in the middle which seems to be happening in most books written at the moment, the plot is good and the book flows freely.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood - Ahhh, 16 Mar 2004
This review is from: Death by Hollywood (Hardcover)
This is yet another absorbing contribution by Steven Bochco of Hill Street Blues, LA Law and NYPD Blue fame. In this, his most recent offering, Steven Bochco has not strayed from his field of expertise. As the title suggests it is the story of a murder set in Hollywood, however this is not a simple murder mystery. More than tell the story of a crime, Death by Hollywood, gives a convincing insight into the prestigious but cold-blooded world of tinsel town.
'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, but because they want to see how soft you are before they eat you alive.' When we think of Hollywood we are immediately reminded of the many clichés that insulate and isolate it from the rest of world. Here we have a city like none other, a city where the entertainment industry is based. Hollywood is consequently described as a place where grace and good behaviour are outweighed by ambition and greed. By setting the novel in Hollywood Steven Bochco enables the place to be as important as the events that occur. Hollywood is a character in its own right.
Bobby Newman is a screenwriter who is sliding down a frighteningly steep downhill slope. His wife is having an affair, he is brushing the sides of alcoholism and is creatively blocked. On his balcony one night he witnesses a murder. Rather than report the crime he decides to write the screenplay. Thus begins a tawdry tale bursting with love, deceit, corruption, and of course, homicide.
The tone of the book is as humorous as it is dark. Bobby's story is set in the past but is told in the present by his agent, Eddie Jelko. By handing the narration over to Bobby's agent Steven Bochco permits brief yet essential interruptions from the intense storyline. At these instances we are told funny, cynical and at times ironic anecdotes, which not only serve to lighten the tone of the book but also to allocate time for transient insights into the Hollywood entertainment industry. And so within the first few chapters we realise the subtle irony of the title. It is not Death IN Hollywood but Death BY Hollywood. This detail is central to the story's theme and speaks volumes about the bloodthirsty nature of the city.
In essence this book serves two purposes. At its most basic level it is an exciting murder mystery with twists and turns exactly where you'd expect them to be. On a more skilful level the book illustrates a mind set and life style that is chillingly accurate. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading well written crime novels, but equally to anyone intrigued by the Hollywood lifestyle. Death by Hollywood explodes with all of these components, and it is a stronger book because of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Death by Book, 21 Feb 2014
Death by Hollywood is a satire on Hollywood, a shallow attempt to expose and lampoon all of the shady moralism in the American film industry. And it's decent, except for the lack of depth to the story. Ben Elton manages to write satire, manages to rip apart his subjects with cutting satire, and still maintain a moral epicentre in his books, a certain depth that most people can relate to. This book doesn't manage to reach that level.

The plot concerns a nearly-alcoholic writer who chances upon seeing a murder, and then manipulates the proceeding events to his own advantage, so he can write the truth from the inside out, even going so far as to hang out with the lead detective. It's a straight forward story with a couple twists, but nothing that will make anyone pass out with shock, or even make a little gasping noise. It's just all over average, and tries too hard to be something higher than it actually is.

I'm pretty sure when Bocho was writing this he thought it was the best thing ever written, destined to take him into the higher echelons of the writing elite--but it's really just like a guy at a bar telling a humorous long-ass story to his friends about a couple murders, something they won't remember the next morning, but which was quite entertaining on the night whilst it lasted. Plus I think at times the story was a little too clever, too cute almost, with the inside jokes, and the inside stories, and etc.

Other than that it's a fairly entertaining read, like a non-terrible version of a James Patterson, something to read over the space of a Sunday afternoon when you're bored . . . or you've run out of porn to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything lives well up to expectations - except the dead people, 18 May 2011
By 
Brian Butterly "Varied Taste" (Dorking UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death by Hollywood (Paperback)
The story, setting and characters are authentic, very amusing and highly entertaining. I knew Steven had written a lot of, (if not all of), Hill Street Blues and that was to my taste. The stories, interlocking and characters were superb and memorable.
I was consequently expecting good things from this book, when I saw it in passing and bought it, and it did not disappoint in any ways.
I like crime novels but I especially like some humour interwoven as in Joseph Wambaugh and Robert Crais books. In my opinion Steven Bochco has earnt his spurs and can be mentioned in the same sentence as the best in this genre. Many thanks - if you get the chance - please read it and enjoy the journey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood Babylon, 15 Aug 2009
By 
Rotgut "rotgut" (Warrington UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death by Hollywood (Paperback)
"Even in a perfect world,where everyone was equal...I'd still own film rights and be working on the sequel.."

Yes, as Elvis Costello's sharp lyric suggests, writing can be a cut-throat buisness. Almost literally in this funny and well written crime novel from the pen of multitalented writer/producer Steven Bochco.

Bochco has had so many stellar critical and commercial successes, you almost feel he is writing a book just to prove that this is another skill he has mastered. If so, he really does succeed...this is very accomplished novel, with a sustained tone and well drawn characters. Its plotting is tight and the story is clear with several twists and turns.

As the narrator, an unexpectedly principled Hollywood agent, makes clear, the long running "Columbo" TV series is the inspiration for this tale, and if this book doesn't quite have the charm of Peter Falk's great creation, it does have more black humour and cynical wit, as may be expected in today's world.

A fund of Hollywood anecdotes and stories as well as interestingly frank depictions of the reality of pitching and commissioning film projects makes this fictional work by an industry insider an instructive read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 6 Oct 2013
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The style is reminiscent of Elmore Leonard but the writing and dialogue not as good. Nonetheless an enjoyable and engaging read.
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Death by Hollywood
Death by Hollywood by Steven Bochco (Paperback - 6 Sep 2004)
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