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Returned from the Great War, living in 1920s Hollywood, Walter Steale is hired as muscle by his politician brother while a platinum blond, renowned for playing empty-headed nymphets in the flickers, rekindles his faith in the world. But before long, lies stack up around his work, and Steale finds himself on the front lines of corruption. Once he confronts his brother, Steale’s dirty work is used against him to protect powerful state leaders. Forced into the life of a fugitive, with the secret love of a film star at his side, the former GI fights to expose the state’s true enemies while hiding in the shadows of a thriving new metropolis where everyone is dancing fast, chased by sorrow, drugged by the dream of change
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Stephen Jared’s Ten-A-Week Steale is a fast paced, action packed, easy to read detective yarn. Set in 1920s Hollywood it’s reminiscent of a vintage movie. Mr. Jared smoothly weaves morality and old fashion justice into the fabric of this novel. From start to finish the reader is rooting for the hero Walter Steale. In addition, Mr. Jared’s supporting character, Ginny Joy is captivating.
It isn't very often that an author comes along who simultaneously truly evokes the style and temperament of classic Pulp while adding modern sensibilities and more sophisticated phrases and tricks to the package. We all strive for it and some of us have moments of it, but very rarely does a writer show up that does it well, consistently, and every time he puts his name on a book.
Meet Stephen Jared.
Author of TEN-A-WEEK-STEALE, Jared is a creator of all sorts. He's a writer of course, but he's also done a bit of time in front of television and film cameras. He has a love affair with acting and moreso with Hollywood, not Hollywood Today, but Hollywood bygone. The time when people dreamed in black and white and movie moguls captured those fantasies on celluloid. And Jared's not just a devotee of the films of Hollywood. He's very much a historian of sorts, fiction being his tool to ferret into fact. In his work he shows you the hubris, the horror, and the humanity that made Classic Hollywood both the Heaven and Babylon it truly was.
Stephen's first book, JACK AND THE JUNGLE LION, took a look at the fantasy and fallacy of the classic Matinee idol. TEN-A-WEEK STEALE pulls the curtain even farther back on the reality behind Hollywood by inserting a no nonsense lead character into the fray. Walter Steale, a World War 1 Veteran, works as muscle for his brother, a politician with great aspirations and appetites, in the Los Angeles of the 1920s. Almost by accident while handling what should be a small job for his brother, Steale stumbles into a tangle of murder, conspiracy, politics, and corpses as he goes from being hired help to Most Wanted by both sides of the law.
TEN-A-WEEK STEALE has been lauded as being a fantastic work in the tradition of the old Pulp/Noir masters and it is indeed that, but it is something else entirely. Jared infuses every single word of this book not only with the past, but with the anxiety, the falsity, the need for truth of today. Steale isn't just a lost soul of the Great War, he's an everyman pulled by no fault of his own really into situations that are far beyond him. And, unlike many such types today, Steale doesn't blend in, fade away, or go with the flow. He comes out fighting, shooting, punching to maintain something that many today feel they've lost. Being his own man.
If you enjoy great noir, this is the book for you. If you thirst for a novel that balances Past and Present, go get TEN-A-WEEK STEALE by Stephen Jared.
FIVE OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF HANCOCK'S HAT- The best of the best here, kid.
Usually the saying goes that you don’t judge a book by its cover. However, if you happened to judge this one by it’s cover you would be equally pleased because the cover is so brilliant and embodies the spirit of the book so well. In this stylishly written story, taken place in the roaring twenties, ex lieutenant Walter Steale comes back from the war only to discover corruption in high circles and will not stop until justice is done, even if it means putting himself on the line. It’s not hard to figure out whom to root for in this book, and there is plenty of action, romance, betrayal, and drama. There is something about these 1920’s era conspiracy stories that gives me so much excitement.
Stephen Jared’s second book was an absolute thrill ride, and very well written. I would love to see this as a film, and have Jared (since he is an actor) play Farnham. Jared truly exercised his knowledge of young Hollywood as well as created a feel for the roaring twenties by building a great environment, and using twenties slang. It put me in mind of films like Chinatown, only I felt more like I was in the era when reading this book.
The Character of Walter Steale was a really great creation with his inability to fit into society and his scars of war effecting his relationships. He is a real patriot and does not give up.
I hope to see a sequel, and within that sequel perhaps an opportunity for Steale to have his own detective agency? Maybe a bit to cliché for this era, but he would make a pretty good private eye. Maybe he could team up with a know-it-all private eye until he becomes a partner? Who knows, but I loved the book, and it has made me go back and watch other films of the era like Untouchables and Public Enemies, and has made me excited to watch the upcoming Great Gatsby, Gangster Squad, and Lawless films. I found myself many times reading this book while listening to some Artie Shaw on vinyl. Travel back to the twenties and discover adventure with this book, it has it all!
Here's a difficult one to put down. Though much of the villainy is as relevant to the modern world as it was in the 1920s, in so many other aspects, the author deftly transports readers to a Los Angeles that no longer exists. The research is superb and never infringes on the rapid pace. You meet actors from the 1920s who were popular at that time without seeming gimmicky - they just seem part of the atmosphere.
The characters jump off the page. The story is unpredictable, suspenseful. What I especially loved was that I was transplanted to that moment in time, touring Hancock Park mansions, movie studios, speakeasies, dusty desert hamlets and the decadent undercurrent of Hollywood.
It's tough guy stuff, but it seems real rather than a pose.
I read the author's other book, Jack and the Jungle Lion, and based on how adroit it was I ran to the Amazon store and plucked it off the shelf. Jack and the Jungle Lion is a completely different genre than Ten a week Steale, yet they share the splendid era as relevant today as it was back then. Both books transport you to the balmy climate of Los Angeles/Hollywood circa 1920's - 1930's, which had just arrived when tumbleweeds were not merely props, actual horsepower pulled the starlets and gritty gaffers to Hollywood. But the geography changes along with the characters - some for the better and some for the worse. Think Boardwalk Empire, LA Confidential, Indiana Jones series - both books are grand.
I highly recommend it.
In the early 1920s, former Army Lieutenant Walter Steale has returned to civilian life and settled down in Los Angeles amongst the glitz of the silent movie world. His one ambition is to put the horrors of World War One behind him and get on with a normal, peaceful life. Unfortunately his brother, Sam, the state's Lieutenant Governor, coerces him into working as hired muscle for his crooked boss, Governor Davies. This leads Steale into brutal confrontations with crazy mob gangsters and a prostitution ring tied to several corrupt politicians.
When a gang boss is murdered in a bombing and then Steale himself is targeted in another, even in his wounded condition he is savvy enough to realize he's been set up as a patsy by his own brother. To clear his name and stay out of jail, Steale must rely on the courage of Virginia "Ginny" Joy, a beautiful young movie actress whose star is on the rise. As unlucky a couple as can be imagined, Ginny has fallen hard for the veteran doughboy and is willing to jeopardize her own career to save his neck.
Author Stephen Jared is an accomplished film actor with a vast knowledge of early Hollywood history which he deftly employs here by creating a truly authentic background for his wonderfully crafted mystery. Refusing to mimic classical noir settings, Jared presents a truly straight forward and original narrative that moves at its own leisurely pace. Then when the reader least expects it, he delivers scenes of gut wrenching violence in such a cold, calculating style, this reviewer was reminded of the late Mickey Spillane's work.
TEN-A-WEEK STEALE was a nice surprise in many ways, exceeding my own expectations and in the end delivers a better than average tale in a field overrun with cheap knock-offs. Wally Steale and Ginny Joy make a nice team, let's hope we get to see them again real soon.
If you're a fan of early Hollywood, corrupt politicians, and battered detectives, this is the book for you. Stephen Jared expertly balances action, romance, and revealing clues without giving anything away. Excellent read for anyone who likes the genre, and even those who are new to it.
True to its cover, Ten-A-Week-Steale is a pastiche in the style of an old fashioned crime novel. It's fast-paced, hard-bitten, and witty with breezy language often reminiscent of a Kaufmann and Hart play or the Thin Man Movies. Set in the roaring twenties, The plot concerns corruption in high places, with our hero, Walter Steale, squeezed and set up by everyone from the governor of California to the L.A. Police chief. Steale, would today perhaps be termed a victim of PTSD. A troubled WWI veteran, he does "security work" for his Lieutenant Governor brother for a measly Ten Dollars/week, has relationship problems, trouble integrating into society and proves a perfect patsy for people in high places, possessed of nefarious designs.
A guy like Steale in a spot like that, though he has an abundance of brains (or at least cunning) and brawn, needs some help. It comes in the person of movie star Virginia Joy. Gin. And the book crosses back and forth between politics and show business until it's impossible to tell one from the other. Sound familiar?
Jared has done an admirable job of recreating this world of L.A. in days gone by--language, scenery, geography, movies, elections. But all of this would avail nothing without a strong story to keep us absorbed and a cast of characters to tie up our feelings. Ten-A-Week-Steale has all this and more.
I read a lot of eBooks and I started to miss holding an actual book in my hand and turning pages. So I decided my goal would be to read one actual book a month. I chose Ten-a-Week Steale mostly because the artwork promised a retro-feel and boy did it deliver. I couldn't put the book down and finished it in two days. Jared drives the narrative with great storytelling, incisive dialogue and suspense driven plots. Plus, it's a great bargain. I just purchased Jared's other book "Jack and the Jungle Lion" and I am looking to losing myself in this new adventure.
If you're looking for a great introduction to the world of crime fiction, look no further than Stephen Jared's "Ten-A-Week Steale".
Set against the backdrop of the glorious excesses of 1920's Hollywood, "Ten-A-Week Steale" leaves the reader in a perpetual state of wanting more. With an easy going writing style, Stephen brings us into the world of Walter "Ten-A-Week" Steale, a disillusioned WWI veteran trying to find his place in society. Doing the dirty work of his politician brother, Walter soon finds himself on the run from bottom feeders, anarchists and corrupt politicians as he tries to clear his name and prove his innocence.
I highly recommend this novel as a great introduction into the world of crime fiction. The pacing is consistent as Stephen builds the suspense of Walter's quest for justice with each turn of the page. My friends, this novel does not drag at all as I read this book in one sitting because I simply could not put it down.