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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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Posted by Doctor Panic on 14th Sep 2012
I confess to not having read many detective pulps or novels, this didn't matter, because as little as I have read, this is more of a Hollywood Noir suspense type novel. The book features rough and tumble Walter Steale, a first grade tough guy who after surviving in the World War comes home to find 1920's Hollywood engulfed in thick corruption which at first he has been helping to spread. He finds that somewhere during the war he was installed with a sense of Justice and doing what is right no matter what the personal costs may be. I try not to give too much away on reviews, because i want people to be enthralled as I was when reading this. It keeps you wanting more, and the suspense and little plots that lay themselves out were well done. I gave the book 5 stars and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Posted by Captain Smitty on 14th Sep 2012
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!
Posted by Tom McNulty on 14th Sep 2012
Ten-A-Week Steale by Stephen Jared is a taut, exciting thriller in the mode of the classic pulps, but with a sharper edge. The time is Hollywood in the 1920s, shortly after the death of Rudolph Valentino, and former Army Lieutenant Walter Steale takes on a job as hired muscle for his brother Sam, California's Lieutenant Governor. The plot thickens fairly quickly when Steale realizes he's been set-up. Steale is a traditional tough guy working in a world where "coincidence played no part" (p. 49). He carries a Star Modelo Militar automatic in a shoulder rig under his left arm. Jared's attention to detail, such as his choice of having Steale carry the Star Modelo, adds depth and insight to the tale. Most writers (myself included) would have simply used the Colt 1911, but Jared's research into Old Hollywood adds a tone of authenticity to his writing. His characters are full realized, with plausible backgrounds and well-defined personalities. Steale is that type of character one would find in a Dashiell Hammett story; tough and uncompromising. Frankly, I couldn't put this book down. Layered with a historical background and spiced with explosive action, Ten-A-Week Steale puts a fresh spin on the classic suspense tale and left me wanting more of Walter Steale. Jared's first book, Jack and the Jungle Lion, was equally entertaining but with a lighter tone (and a separate set of characters). Ten-A-Week Steale pleasantly surprised me because here Jared demonstrates that rare gift of writing a second novel that is stylistically (in tone and setting) entirely different than his first book. It was a wise choice and Jared handles the action with a Master's touch. It's all here: Hollywood during the era of the silent films, tough guys and hookers and Palm Springs and corruption and the pungent smell of cordite.
Posted by Lauren MacKinnon on 14th Sep 2012
Stephen Jared's latest novel, "Ten-a-Week Steale," is classic noir for a new generation. After thoroughly enjoying his first book, "Jack and the Jungle Lion," I was thrilled by his second; a sleek exploration of corruption and betrayal in 1920's Hollywood. Jared's stylish writing captures the seduction of the period with an atmosphere evocative of classic films. (I love the way he balances smooth dialogue with frequent bursts of tension.)Managing to blend storylines as easily as he does genres, the writer's work is always impossible to put down. Stephen Jared's books are an enticing escape into another time and I can't wait to see what this author will offer next!!
Posted by KC on 14th Sep 2012
I like Stephen Jared's novels, because they're sort of like classic movies in print. In his first book, the lively and romantic Jack and the Jungle Lion, he played with the adventure genre. This time, he goes grittier and darker with a 1920s-set detective story.
Though Ten-a-Week Steale is sexier and more violent than your typical golden age flick, it has the zest of a 1920s flapper pic, dialogue with a 1930s snap and an aura of 1940s noir doom. Somehow, all of that fits together. There are even movie star cameos, from Nazimova to Adolph Menjou.
The betrayed man on the run plot is familiar, but Jared gives it a boost with juicy characters and sharp wit. There are also a few novel touches. I certainly see brandy in a different light after reading a particular fight scene.
And holy cow, those action scenes! The brutal detail and twisty pacing really hit you in the gut.
Ten-a-Week-Steale is a fast-paced, engrossing story. I'd like to see more of Walter Steale. (The upcoming sequel to Jack and the Jungle Lion can't come out fast enough either!)
Posted by Heinrich Drosse on 14th Sep 2012
Stephen Jared is back with another excellent novel set in Hollywood's early years. Having stumbled by happy accident on Mr. Jared's debut novel "Jack and the Jungle Lion," it was a great pleasure to find his latest work available on Amazon. This time the author mines the hard-boiled, two-fisted genre forever associated with the likes of Hammett, Chandler, Spillane and Thompson: a brave undertaking, considering the obvious risk of falling prey to derivative cliché. My relief in finding the contrary to be true quickly turned to exhilaration as the story carried me along with its steady and engaging pace. Mr. Jared has a genuine talent for limning memorable characters, and his action sequences are crisp, brutal and almost poetic. In a market saturated with teen vampires and interchangeable forensic pathologists with troubled pasts, it's good to know there are still a few authors out there who can spin a good yarn, blacken a few eyes and keep the trench coat and fedora tradition alive...
Posted by CNW on 14th Sep 2012
Chandleresque. You know the drill. The title and cover slickly convey the world you're about to sink into. But be careful, because enforcer-for-hire Walter Steale, our main character, likes to play rough.
Let's not synopsize the story. This is definitely a case of the less you know, the more you'll enjoy. Plot twists abound. Characters betray allegiances and, um, "go away" unexpectedly. Settings range from champagne-sipping, tux-and-tail parties to seedy barrooms, brothels, and backroom political pow-wows. Chandleresque. But the surprising--and delightfully fun--characteristic of "Ten-A-Week" is that despite its familiar format, Jared keeps the reader in chronic suspense. Nothing happens predictably. It's unexpected within the expected unexpected, if that makes a lick of sense. I defy you to guess the ending; no, I defy you to even guess the next chapter.
After reading Jared's "Jack and the Jungle Lion," I couldn't wait to see what he would write next. That book was so evocative of "they don't make `em like that anymore" cinema that the movie rolled in my head while I ripped through the pages. As a genre literature and movie buff, Jared's unpretentious prose and reverent affection for classic cinema thrilled me. And now, like "Jack" before, "Ten-A-Week Steale" kills these proverbial two birds--not with a stone, but a bullet from Steale's frequently pulled pistol. This is one gritty, action-packed book.
Tough, cynical, sometimes brutal, but still possessing a romance and sweetness with its doubled love affair: one being the hardcase hero's affinity with a Hollywood starlet, no mere dame-in-distress, and the other being the author's unabashed affection for an idealized--if incredibly dangerous--Los Angeles that no longer exists. Maybe it never did.
"Ten-A-Week" compares favorably with "Red Harvest," Hammett's best novel IMO (and the inspiration for the Coen brothers' "Miller's Crossing.") It's a hardball cocktail of Bogart, John Huston, and Raymond Chandler with a stiff chaser of "Chinatown." But all the references and allusions combine in a new, intoxicating whole. Like Steale's ubiquitous whiskey, "Ten-A-Week" goes down smooth and then punches you in the gut.
As with "Jack and the Jungle Lion," my first reaction was, "Give me more!" But after Ten-A-Week settled, I'm more excited to see what literary form he assays next. But don't let that keep you from those sequels, Mr. Jared.
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