MYSTERY

Last Looks

Dutton. Aug. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9781524742492. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781524742515. M
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Consumed by guilt at a wrongful conviction in one of his cases, LAPD detective Charlie Waldo resigns and retreats to isolation in a tiny cabin in the woods. He becomes an ultraconservationist, limiting possessions to "100 things." Yet, when ex-girlfriend Lorena appeals for his help in saving Alistair Pinch, a famous movie actor accused of murdering his third wife, Charlie is lured back into society—specifically Hollywood. He is warned off by hoodlums, by Don Q., a drug lord, and by his former police colleagues. Lorena apparently is killed in a hit-and-run accident and Don Q. relentlessly and viciously seeks a memory device Charlie doesn't have. Torn between his cop training and instincts vs. his moral ecological position, he ultimately finds himself in a shoot-out on a Hollywood set.
VERDICT Gould's experience as a film and TV writer and producer is evident in this well-written first novel that manages to focus on environmental concerns while spoofing Hollywood clichés with a nod toward classic American detective fiction. Charlie Waldo would do well on the big screen—he does very well here. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/18.]

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