Sunday, December 4, 2011


"Malibu Confidential," a quirky new crime novel by Paul-Arthur Weisenfeld, is part of a growing trend in publishing — you're not likely to find it in your local bookshop without special ordering it.

It's primarily available as an e-book on Amazon in the Kindle format for $4.99. If you want it as a fat paperback book for $24.95 (all 565 pages!), you can get it fastest by ordering it through Amazon.

Weisenfeld, an award-winning journalist who attended MSU, has ties to the local community, working as a news broadcaster in the late 1960s and early 1970s for WITL.

His debut novel, set in the late 1990s, showcases private detective Randal Bristol, who only accepts clients on a referral basis.

While this significantly limits his clientele, Bristol likes it that way, working hard to keep media exposure at a minimum.

The fast-paced novel is divided into three subsections, mostly taking place in California. Bristol's initial case involves a highly unusual blackmail scheme, a search for a lost film and the quest for a missing script.

Later segments deal with a clever terrorist who's out to stop a film's production, deadly secrets and a major wildfire.

Stylistically, this new crime novel is easy to read, with more than 180 short chapters and snappy dialogue.
Spurts of unexpected violence towards the end are a bit jolting; some transitions are not as smooth as in the earlier parts of the novel. The conclusion is complicated but satisfying; it's not completely believable but still highly entertaining.

Weisenfeld deftly captures much of the underlying craziness in Hollywood, dealing with a wide assortment of greedy filmmakers, studio executives, worn-out actors and actresses, nasty thugs and wannabe movie stars.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime novels and noir thrillers regularly since 1987.
This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, November 27, 2011.

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