True to its cover, Ten-A-Week-Steale is a pastiche in the style of an old fashioned crime novel. It’s fast-paced, hard-bitten, and witty with breezy language often reminiscent of a Kaufmann and Hart play or the Thin Man Movies. Set in the roaring twenties, The plot concerns corruption in high places, with our hero, Walter Steale, squeezed and set up by everyone from the governor of California to the L.A. Police chief. Steale, would today perhaps be termed a victim of PTSD. A troubled WWI veteran, he does “security work” for his Lieutenant Governor brother for a measly Ten Dollars/week, has relationship problems, trouble integrating into society, and proves a perfect patsy for people in high places, possessed of nefarious designs.
A guy like Steale in a spot like that, though he has an abundance of brains (or at least cunning) and brawn, needs some help. It comes in the person of movie star Virginia Joy. Gin. And the book crosses back and forth between politics and show business until it’s impossible to tell one from the other. Sound familiar?
Jared has done an admirable job of recreating this world of L.A. in days gone by–language, scenery, geography, movies, elections. But all of this would avail nothing without a strong story to keep us absorbed and a cast of characters to tie up our feelings. Ten-A-Week-Steale has all this and more.