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Play Him Again by Jeffrey Stone

Play Him AgainPlay Him Again by Jeffrey Stone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"It’s the Roaring Twenties but silence remains golden for Hollywood. Sound is scorned by movie moguls. It’s too expensive. Only two studios have sound equipment. Only one picture has contained limited spoken dialogue.

Matt Hudson, a rumrunner and the preferred bootlegger of the movie industry, wants to produce a talking picture. Hud’s gut tells him a talkie would rake in the dough at the box office but neither sound studio will lease him their facilities.

Hud’s oldest friend, con man Danny Kincaid, uses the talkie gold mine angle to con a transplanted Chicago gangster into buying a bogus sound device. But when the gangster gets wise, Danny ends up dead.

Now Hud has a score to settle and nothing can stop him from finding Danny’s killer. After Hud unravels a web of deception, blackmail, and murder that leads to a studio controlled by the gangster, he sets up another con to play the gangster again. A con that will either avenge Danny or get Hud killed."

My Review:

The prologue had me hooked! What happened to Danny and why? Taking place in the prohibition era, AKA the Roaring Twenties, this book takes on the feel of a film noire and mob crime thriller. With revenge, hijackings, cons and of course, alcohol, this book was filled with action. The ending was wonderful! Well... not so much for some people in the book. I was given the synopsis and the book by the author, and I must say, this book opened up a new genre for me.
      The Author does a great job of setting the atmosphere, to the point that I was reading the book in a L.A. noire slang. Stone delves into the history of the time, using the innovation and uprising of sound/talking movies as the cascading theme. The dialogue and terms in Play Him Again were on cue and gave the book great credibility. There were some instances where ideas were over-elaborated and ran on a bit, and sometimes the congruency between the story line and Hud's film fascination weren't quite clear. But overall, I really enjoyed reading it!
      The contrast between Hud and Minetti is a fine line but readers are given just enough perspective to win you on Hud’s side. I was kind of reminded of the television program Dragnet, only the criminals were catching other criminals and putting them through their own “Justice System.” The book panned out really well, and although it is the first in a series, it is also a great stand-alone book.

First Line: “The Essex Super Six Coupe rolled over the redwood planking, shattered the wooden railing at the end of the Sunset Pier, and plunged into the Pacific Ocean.”

Last Line: Could be considered a spoiler

“It was either drink or drown, so he drank.” (Loc. 53)

“Those that have the most to lose are always the most opposed to change.” (Loc. 327)

“‘not much for a man to leave behind.’
‘It’s who you leave behind that matters,’ Swede replied.” (Loc. 707)

“‘If words could lessen your suffering, I’d hold you in my arms and say them over and over until the pain was gone.’” (Loc. 742)

“He wanted to give this feeling she gave him a name, so he could recall it whenever he needed it again. He thought about it a long while and finally decided on safe. She made him feel safe.” (Loc. 869)

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