Publisher: Penguin Canada
Publication Date: April 11, 2009
“When this place likes you, it’s like owning the world. You can do anything. Anything. People think it’s about the money. Fuck the money. You don’t need money – people line up to give you anything you want. It’s about the power, the sort of power you can’t buy and you can’t make. People just surrender it to you. It’s like being elected God.”
The ‘place’ is Hollywood, and this, one of my fave lines from Loser’s Town, is spoken by an aging actor names Ross Whitcomb who made a fortune playing the ‘charming redneck’ on the silver screen in the 70s and 80s.
In Loser’s Town, author Daniel Depp depicts Hollywood in all its seedy glory: the sex, the drugs, and the money. I was instantly drawn into this book because it read a little like a Stuart Woods novel, which are always entertaining and fast-paced.
Loser’s Town follows David Spandau, a former Hollywood stuntman and current private investigator. Spandau is hired to investigate threatening letters being sent to Hollywood ‘It Boy du jour’ Bobby Dye. The novel also follows a supporting cast of equally fucked up and interconnected characters including Potts – a goon-for-hire with a heart of gold; Terry – an Irish guy with a penchant for drinking and a dark and violent past, Richie Stella – cheesy club owner who’s in with the mob; and Allison Graff – a single mother struggling to make ends meet while working for the insufferable Stella.
I enjoyed everything about this book – I like that it was dark but funny and at times even touching, and I especially enjoyed the depiction of Hollywood’s seedy underbelly that also shows the dark side of the movie-making business. There’s definitely some violence courtesy of a few detailed fight scenes, but I thought they were written well. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a noir crime-style novel.