Friday, April 19, 2024

FFB: Hollywood and LeVine, Andrew Bergman


 Reviewed by Randy Johnson in 2014

18697864I’ve written about P.I. Jack LeVine before.

It’s 1947 and Jack LeVine runs into an old college friend he hasn’t seen since before the war. Walter Adrian had made a career in Hollywood writing screenplays. One LeVine had loved, another not so much.

Adrian looked terrible, worried about something. Laying one false story on LeVine, he finally admitted he was having contract problems and wanted His friend to come to Hollywood and find out why. A new contract was in negotiation and Warner Brothers not only wasn’t offering him a raise, they wanted to cut his pay.

LeVine heads for Hollywood and goes to Warner Brothers where Adrian was working late on a script, only to find him on the back lot on a western set hanging from a scaffold.

The police call it suicide, but LeVine was suspicious. The trapdoor he’d been standing on that killed him when he fell through didn’t allow Adrian to hit the lever that opened it. Bot to mention the lump on the back of his head.

LeVine decides to look into it.

But no one wants him doing that. Shots are taken at him, the police are warning him off, and the meeting with freshman Senator Richard Nixon reinforces what they consider the problem.

Remember this is 1947 and Nixon is heading up the west coast version of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

LeVine keeps plugging along. The highlight of the story is the finale, a long car chase and shootout with LeVine aided by none other than Humphrey Bogart doing the driving. Lauren Bacall was left behind at the party where it started.

A fun read.


Jeff Meyerson said...

Yes, this was a fun series, though when he brought LeVine back 25 years later for TENDER IS LEVINE...sometimes you can't go home again. Of course, Bergman's best writing was the original script for THE IN-LAWS, the classic Peter Falk-Alan Arkin movie.

Jerry House said...

The second of three books about Jake LeVine:

THE BIG KISS-OFF OF 1944 (1974)

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh this does sound like a fun read, Patti. Some of those PI novels really are good.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It's hard to find comic mysteries that work!
Have to see THE IN-LAWS again.

Jeff Meyerson said...

We watched it last year and it still held up. Also a fan of his THE FRESHMAN and SO FINE, though they're no IN-LAWS. And we saw his SOCIAL SECURITY on Broadway, starring Marlo Thomas.

Jerry House said...

He also wrote the first draft for BLAZING SADDLES and helped meld into its final form.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Very different projects.