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REVIEWS ARE IN... AND THEY'RE "KILLER"...
Haddad’s background as an Emmy-nominated TV writer and producer is obvious, as is his deep affection for the city of Los Angeles and its history… A black comedy about family ties, real estate, and long-buried secrets. The plot springs one surprise after another as it switches between fast-moving, present-day action and scenes from the past that illuminate the Shapiros’ complicated relationships and personalities. Tough women, bumbling villains, government bureaucrats, naïve tourists, the Palms’ loyal staff members, and a trio of eccentric long-term residents rounds out the cast. The action features extortion, violence, gambling, arson, murder, and shocking revelations—as well as reunions, romances, weddings, births, and funerals. The novel is rich in period detail. The writing is vividly descriptive, snarky, and funny, but it doesn’t shy away from engaging with serious issues, such as homophobia, racism, and police corruption.
-- Kirkus Reviews
A finely-detailed story that recalls the aesthetics of Mad Men and mixes it up with a noirish vibe. The read goes down smooth as champagne and leaves the reader wanting more.
PARADISE PALMS: RED MENACE MOB
Los Angeles. October 1957.
A time of Eisenhower conformity, police and mob strongholds, and Red Scare paranoia. A relic of Hollywood's Golden Age, the aging Paradise Palms Hotel is on the brink of change. David Shapiro -- eldest son of recently widowed Max Shapiro -- has assumed a leadership role. But the more he digs into the hotel's business, the more he questions who his father is. It's not just the tenuous ties to gangster Mickey Cohen, who is trying to commandeer "the Palms," but also the sudden appearance of a mysterious African American guest named Rae Lynn, who improbably rises in stature. As long-buried secrets come to light, David's battle to keep the family intact takes a tragic turn. His actions mirror an America lurching from the surface simplicity of the '50s to the turmoil of the 1960s in this riveting neo-noir family saga.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST "SALT LAKE DIRT" AS HOST KYLER DOES A DEEP-DIVE INTO THE BOOK... MY WRITING PROCESS... AND A MISSPENT YOUTH LOITERING AT THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL.
READ THE BOOK REVIEW STATION, IN WHICH AUTHOR RISHIKA AND I DISCUSS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND "PARADISE PALMS" AND THE DIFFERENCES (AND SIMILARITIES) BETWEEN WRITING FOR TV AND WRITING FOR BOOKS.
PURCHASE "PARADISE PALMS":
Haddad is a skillful storyteller who weaves an intricate tale. His characters vividly come to life on the page as he provides illuminating insights into their histories while simultaneously dramatizing their hijinks. His evocation of the post-war era in The City of Angels rings with authenticity. While a degree of sleaziness is part and parcel of his narrative, there resides an unobtrusive optimism in the way he tells his tale. Humor and irony are never far from one chapter to the next.
-- US Review of Books
Paradise Palms is a hopeless hotel located at the bitter end of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The story hums, the historic setting shines, and the colorful cast of characters keeps the pages turning.
-- S.W. Lauden, Author of the Greg Salem PI series
A neo-noir flash bang with heart and dark humor… the Coen Brothers meet James Ellroy.
-- Donald Hewitt, Screenwriter,
Oscar-winning "Spirited Away"
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This book contains a deplorable criminal character who, on rare occasions, utters ethnic and racial epithets in a manner consistent with social mores of the time (America in the 1950s). Please be advised the book is not for children or those who may take issue with reading offensive language.