RUSS TOBIN IN HOLLYWOOD
Hardback edition on WH Allen and paperback on Star
After the strangeness of the Hard Up / Up Tight covers, we finally see a return to the semi-naked lady theme. This time it's a cheerleader in an Uncle Sam outfit - except with her shirt wide-open and no pants on. Why she is holding a gigantic cotton bud is anyone's guess! She doesn't look altogether unlike Farrah Fawcett - which was probably a huge selling point in 1978. In the paperback version she is lying back and brazenly baring her chest (you know that times are changing as this is actually the first Tobin novel to feature two uncovered nipples on the jacket) whilst in the hardback version she is lay on her front showing us her buttocks instead! These hardback editions were primarily intended for libraries, so they perhaps wanted to tone the image down slightly, as it would be on public display. For some reason the paperback version has the words "On The Way Up" underneath the picture - which is the exact same tagline as was used in "A Blow For Gabriel Horn"... Anyway - enough pointless trivia. 8/10
Stanley Morgan has a phenomenal record for writing best-sellers - starring heroes like Russ Tobin, Gabriel Horn, the Fly Boys and Albert Shifty - and has over three million readers. In "Russ Tobin in Hollywood" his intrepid hero is "California Dreamin"
Tobin is in Twinkle City at last, heading out in his hired car for a plush house on Santa Monica Beach and two slinky air-hostesses who will provide the last word in hospitality and go to any lengths to entertain him. He's going to swim and surf, hang around the movie lots and just wait for someone to uncover his talent, and with Tobin that won't take more than five minutes.
But for newcomers, Los Angeles is not just a city of tinsel dreams, but also a city of mystery - if Russ doesn't find the right exit from the freeway system soon, he may never reach the beach or the amorous air-hostesses at all...
So Tobin makes it to Hollywood and promptly gets himself arrested. Air-Hostess Sam gets him out of jail and Russ of course shows his thanks in the way he knows best - but not before he gets jealous of her relationship with "Harold" - which turns out to be the cat! It seems like Russ used up all his luck in the previous book as he promptly gets himself arrested AGAIN the next day and meets Air-Hostess #2 Barbie. She takes him to a wild swinging Hollywood party held by the latest rock-star phenomenon "Little Bo Creep". Russ isn't really enjoying the party and at one point describes it as a "cuntish cauldron"! (Possibly one of Stan's greatest ever turns-of-phrase?) Then he meets a girl and discusses Chaucer with her. Nope, of course he doesn't really. He gets her into bed. She then disappears and he meets ANOTHER girl who takes to him to see a blue movie (You seriously wonder why Russ isn't just a little bit sick of this happening to him so often). Just as they are about to get down to business - Russ realises that she is a FELLA! As free-thinking as our hero may be - that is NOT ON so he storms out. Shortly after this he improbably gets arrested for the THIRD time, and the book ends with his first contact with the Hollywood Agent and possible stardom??
Page 8. Russ is at the check-in desk at Heathrow and he mentions that the girl at the desk has "big lumps" in her sweater! (not one of Stan's greatest turns-of-phrase I'm afraid)
Not until Page 73 - but we can forgive Russ - he's just had a 13 hour trans-atlantic flight and been arrested. He does well to be in the mood at all!
Shockingly NO vodka tonics at all in this episode. On the plane he gets in the Yankee mood by drinking Budweiser with his new flight companion Matt Holden.
Russ gives a comprehensive breakdown of how he came to be at Heathrow Airport on his way to LA on the very first page.
That the Police in Los Angeles are RIGHT bastards and big stars are generally a bit crap.
A lot more "plot" going on than in the previous couple of books - certainly some great comedy moments (particularly the point when Russ realises that Herc is in the hands of a BLOKE!) So I think a respectable 8/10