During the past couple of years since I finished writing my Hollywood’s Garden of Allah series, I have written a couple of biographical novels: specifically Chasing Salomé about actress Alla Nazimova, and The Heart of the Lion about MGM producer, Irving Thalberg. I’m very happy with how they turned out and how well they’ve been received, but a part of me missed writing the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah sort of stories, which were a 50/50 mix of a fictional tale played out against factual events.
For a while, I didn’t really know how to jump back into that particular pool . . . until . . . a fact and an idea converged on me at almost exactly the same time.
I read an article about how Humphrey Bogart played chess-by-mail: you make a move, write it down on a postcard, which you mail to your opponent, who does the same thing. Back-and-forth you go until one of you gets to write “CHECKMATE.” One of Bogart’s chess partners was a guy in Brooklyn who was the brother of someone who worked at Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, Los Angeles. My writerly mind started to ruminate over how that happened.
It had also occurred to me that so many Hollywood stories are about people who want to come to Hollywood, ambitious to make their mark, or reinvent themselves. Or both. What if, I pondered, I could write about a character who didn’t want to go to Hollywood, but was unwillingly compelled. And what if, I further pondered, that character came to find his true way forward in life?
One ‘what if’ led to another and now I’m happy to announce the details of my next release.
ALL THE GIN JOINTS
a novel of World War II Hollywood
by Martin Turnbull
Due for release July 2021
For those of you curious about the making of a book cover, I drew inspiration from one of the original posters for Casablanca, which featured the stars in sepia and the title in red.
Luke Valenti has never fit into his swaggering family of overbearing loudmouths. Even worse, the world is at war again and Uncle Sam has stamped his draft notice “4-F” — the ultimate rejection — because of a rare eye condition that has left Luke unable to see colors. So instead, he dreams of escaping Brooklyn for the beaches of Montauk.
That is, until a stolen prop from The Maltese Falcon pitches him down a reluctant path to Hollywood. Luke is tasked with returning it to Warner Brothers, where Humphrey Bogart is about to embark on the movie that will launch his career into the stratosphere: Casablanca.
But the production is chaotic. Bogie is desperately unhappy in his marriage. Ingrid Bergman feels lost and alone. The script is constantly rewritten, and the overbearing director hates that damned song. Nobody thinks this movie will amount to anything—except the guy who sees in black and white. Finally, Luke has found his way in.
But studio stuntman Gus O’Farrell wants him out again: Luke has replaced him as the star’s stand-in, and Gus is having none of it. Bogie warns Luke to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. It’s great advice, but when a chance to reverse his 4-F status presents itself, Luke needs to learn that distinguishing friends from enemies can be a tricky business in a land where artifice blurs reality like murky shadows in a back alley.
From the author of the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels comes a story set against the making of one of the most beloved films of all time—and the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
ALL THE GIN JOINTS is due for release JULY 2021
You can read Chapter 1 here.
And yes, you read that right. All the Gin Joints is Book 1 in the Hollywood Home Front Trilogy.
The Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels
by Martin Turnbull
Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood
Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard
Book 7 – Tinseltown Confidential
Book 8 – City of Myths
Book 9 – Closing Credits
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