Ten-A-Week Steale by Stephen Jared is a taut, exciting thriller in the mode of the classic pulps, but with a sharper edge. The time is Hollywood in the 1920s, shortly after the death of Rudolph Valentino, and former Army Lieutenant Walter Steale takes on a job as hired muscle for his brother Sam, California’s Lieutenant Governor. The plot thickens fairly quickly when Steale realizes he’s been set-up. Steale is a traditional tough guy working in a world where “coincidence played no part” (p. 49). He carries a Star Modelo Militar automatic in a shoulder rig under his left arm. Jared’s attention to detail, such as his choice of having Steale carry the Star Modelo, adds depth and insight to the tale. Most writers (myself included) would have simply used the Colt 1911, but Jared’s research into Old Hollywood adds a tone of authenticity to his writing. His characters are full realized, with plausible backgrounds and well-defined personalities. Steale is that type of character one would find in a Dashiell Hammett story; tough and uncompromising.
Frankly, I couldn’t put this book down. Layered with a historical background and spiced with explosive action, Ten-A-Week Steale puts a fresh spin on the classic suspense tale and left me wanting more of Walter Steale. Jared’s first book, Jack and the Jungle Lion, was equally entertaining but with a lighter tone (and a separate set of characters). Ten-A-Week Steale pleasantly surprised me because here Jared demonstrates that rare gift of writing a second novel that is stylistically (in tone and setting) entirely different than his first book. It was a wise choice and Jared handles the action with a Master’s touch.
It’s all here: Hollywood during the era of the silent films, tough guys and hookers and Palm Springs and corruption and the pungent smell of cordite. Ten-A-Week Steale is published by Solstice Publishing and you can visit their website HERE! Ten-A-Week Steale is available as both an e-book and paperback. I’m recommending Ten-A-Week Steale by Stephen Jared as the book you should read next! You can visit Stephen’s website HERE! The cover artwork for Ten-A-Week Steale is by Atula Siriwandane and you can visit his website HERE!