PLAY HIM AGAIN by Jeffrey Stone (A review)
This novel is set during the prohibition era—no it’s not in Chicago or New York, but Los Angeles. Much of the story is built around the way booze was brought into the area by ship, transported to shore by yachts and other smaller boats, and delivered by truck to the many restaurants in the area. Of course this illegal activity created many problems: police corruption, hijacking, fighting between different gangs, and of course, murder.
The book begins with the murder of Danny Kincaid, made to look like an accident when his car is pushed off the Sunset Pier into the Pacific Ocean. Despite the many injuries on Danny’s body, the police decide Danny was drunk and don’t bother to investigate. Danny’s best friend,Matt Hudson (called Hud), goes to the mortuary and sees what was done to his friend and vows to avenge the murder. This means first, he must find out who is responsible for Danny’s death.
Hud has a big part in the liquor smuggling trade, but he’s also interested in the movie business, and most directly in the making of talking pictures. Most of the studios are resisting the idea because it will cost more money to develop sound stages and the necessary equipment.
Hud has his hands full while investigating the murder and trying to find out what Danny was doing that caused his death. Danny was a grafter and had lots of cons going, and it is up to Hud to find out which one ultimately led to murder. At the same time he’s busy with the business of getting liquor to his various contracts, dealing with hijackers, keeping his girlfriend happy and ot of the way of a powerful gangster, and trying to convince the head of Fox studio that talking pictures will be profitable.
There is plenty of excitement which leads up to one heck of an ending.
What I enjoyed most about Play Him Again was learning so much about something that went on during a time period in Los Angeles that I hadn’t known before. There are interesting tidbits about movie stars of the era, popular restaurants and gathering places. Though the plot is fiction, it is surrounded by the actual history of what was going on.
Available as an e-book on Amazon and Smashwords.