Review of Cast the First Stone (James W. Ziskin)

Cast the First Stone by James W. Ziskin

Ellie Stone is one dogged reporter.  Tagged by her boss at the New Holland Republic to cover hometown-boy-makes-good Tony Eberle as he begins his first feature starring role in Hollywood, Ellie climbs aboard a TWA bound for Los Angeles, even as her nemesis at the paper turns down the assignment because of a premonition.  Apparently her publisher doesn’t mind if the plane goes down with Ellie aboard.  He doesn’t like ‘girl reporters’ anyhow.

Does a gal from a small upstate New York newspaper swoon with the glamour of Tinseltown? Not hardly.  Tony’s missing; his producer is found at the bottom of his canyon mansion – quite dead. In order to find Tony, Ellie, and an assorted file folder of friendly paparazzi, over-friendly LAPD officer, telescope- wielding Industry folks in the canyon, and rival newspaper reporter breathing down her neck, circumnavigates the Los Angeles area, even out to Barstow. Tony is nowhere to be found.  The production company bosses enlist her; the LAPD puts Tony at the top of the suspects list; her publisher is threatening her.  Ellie Stone has no time to go GaGa over LaLaLand.

Ever the linguist, James Ziskin paints a succinct and colorful Hollywood scene circa 1962.  He weaves plot and characters together like a sports car getting through traffic on the 405.

 Cast the First Stone slips past the highly-regarded and multi-nominated previous Ellie Stone novel, Styx & Stone. Watching Ellie deflect studio types with their spurious intents, dusty has-beens, and sleazy wannabes is deliciously fun.  Following the plot through the canyons, out to the desert and back, and in and out of sound stages challenges the reader as well as Ellie – no matter the obstacles Ellie always gets her story, filed on time.  Cast the First Stone is On Sale June 7, 2017. Reserve your copy now.

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