Buddy Chinn, the son of a lauded beat poet from the seventies, is happy to follow the dishonorable family tradition of booze, bets, books and broads.
Then, at Hollywood Park one winter Saturday afternoon, two tough guys persuade him to join them on a trip to Damascus, a sprawling mansion off Mulholland Drive, a palace surrounded by a forest of imported trees and lush vegetation.
There, he meets Mortimer Saxon, a, reclusive obsessive manuscript collector with an edge.
A sharp suited zealot searching for Buddy's dad's fabled Lost Manuscript; a one off, a unique piece worth thousands and thousands of dollars, an American literary icon similar in cult magnitude to Hunter S Thompson's "Call to the Post."
He asks Buddy whether he can help. Buddy hasn't a clue. Not a scooby.
Trouble is, Mortimer doesn't believe him.
Over the finest steak dinner Buddy has ever eaten, the collector makes him a proposition.
Find the manuscript and make one hundred thousand dollars.
Fail to find the manuscript and lose body parts on instruments restored from Inquisition times.
Worse, he's given two weeks and no choice.
Along with a British comic dealer friend, the two men go on a quest for the manuscript which takes them to the biggest library in the world in Venice Beach, a riotous chess tournament in Chicago, a pulsating FA Cup match in London and back again to the City of Angels.
All the time he's worried about his independent minded squeeze Monique, who, like a very independent minded cat, only ever comes home when she wants feeding.
Hoping against hope that the manuscript exists. Avoiding snipers, hitmen, hooligans, the attentions of strange seventies goons and an alluring, hyper-sexy bad girl with a fetishistic interest in low-life big guy writers.
Developing respect and admiration in an age of endangered male friendships, the odd couple face a race against time to find the manuscript, a contest which leads to a pulse pounding climax, one in which Buddy has to face his deepest, darkest fears.
Hollywood Shakedown is an offbeat thriller and quest novel, written in a Transatlantic beat style. The narrative transpires mostly in dialogue as a homage to the seventies greats. It contains one of the hottest women you'll ever witness without a camera and three of the nastiest villains you'll see outside state prison.
Hollywood Shakedown is one of the sleepers of the year.
Fans of beat poet Charles Bukowski (who makes a ghostly appearance), hipster Elmore Leonard and arch-ironist Martin Amis; cult directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie and seventies TV shows such as "The Persuaders" and "Randall and Hopkirk" will get the drift.
What readers are saying:
5 Star Review:
A fast paced novel that takes you into the very heart of human nature in regards to greed, laziness and love. What would you do when your life is on the line and you only have two weeks to produce results or die? What would you do if the one whom you love is in danger? What would you do if you were a person that most would consider a bum and a failure?
Meet Buddy and experience a two week rollercoaster trip into the madhouse and stress as he searches for the unknown manuscript....a script that will determine if he lives or dies.
The characters in this book are outstanding! The individuals involved here have personalities that are well defined and keeps you turning page after page. Not once was there a "slow" or "boring" spot.
Definitely a must read!
Another 5 Star Review:
The author has expertly woven a tale of greed and lust into a compelling story of a ruthless man's quest to obtain a missing manuscript. The wealthy Mortimer Saxon coerces Buddy Chinn to do his bidding, tempting the alcoholic writer with money, but threatening his life and the life of his woman, Monique, should he fail. We are introduced to many worlds in this thriller, from racetracks and bars to chess tournaments and British football. Mr. Barry immerses the reader quickly into the intrigue, an enjoyable page turner that is difficult to put down. I look forward to reading more of this author's work.