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Revolver


Johnny Spicer is a shamus that is after my own heart. I hope Johnny will be around more to share his adventures as a Private Investigator with a nose for trouble and beautiful women.

One of the things I enjoyed most about Oliver's books is the fantastic description of Los Angeles and surrounding area in the late 1920's through the early 1940's.

~Les Cook


Another great 1930s Hollywood gumshoe thriller.

I'm a huge fan of the Johnny Spicer capers by H.P. Oliver and this tale is the best one so far!

Like the other reviewers, I really enjoy being totally immersed into 1939 Hollywood with all it's glitz, glitter and intrigue. Johnny is a glib, gritty gumshoe that steps right out of the Hollywood newspaper headlines. He's smart. Smart enough to know when to push and when to sit back and let the action come to him.

This time his client is none other than Jack Warner of the Warner Brothers movie mega-machine. Someone is trying to sabotage Jack's latest film 'Thunderstruck' and he hires our intrepid detective to find out who and to stop them.

You'll meet a marvelous lineup of movie stars, high rollers and low life's as Spicer works his way through the evidence, one step at a time, risking life and limb to find the answers.

And just like in the other books, you're going to have a blast cruisin' up and down the boulevards of Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the coastal highways. Late night diners, ham sandwiches and hot coffee. No cell phones, no internet, not even a pager. Johnny has to rely on his wits and dogged determination to solve this one.

I highly recommend this caper and the other cool stories in H.P. Oliver's 'Johnny Spicer' series.

Grab a cool brew, a plate of nachos and settle in for the fun!

~Gary Henson


Five Stars!

Great!

~C


Another Smash Hit!

Each volume seems to build on the works before! Loved this one set with one of my favorite thespians and all of the famed Californian highway system. Hang on for a thrilling ride!!!

~Diana S Johnsonon


Revolver - a winner for me!

I'm grateful to have found this novel. It's filled with names and places from one of my favorite times in history, the Golden Age of Hollywood. Within two pages of starting Revolver, the action took me right to that era. It's a good place to be when you love reading mysteries and when you love classic films as much as I do. But that's not to say Revolver is a book about that era of Hollywood history. It isn't, that's just the setting. That's a bonus for me! The story, a traditional whodunit, takes place in the Golden Age of Hollywood era and the characters are drawn from it, but this is a traditional mystery, with all the elements of a well-written mystery novel from any era.

Private Investigator, Johnny Spicer is back. Jack Warner, yes, THAT Jack Warner, of Warner Brothers has hired him to figure out who's sabotaging his movie. Spicer uses his skills to search for this vandal, who ultimately turns out to be a murderer. There isn't one wasted page in this book as Spicer figures things out. I never found myself skipping around like I sometimes do, or skipping over pages, nor did I find myself flipping the pages backwards to figure out who was who, or who did what. What I did do, is constantly guess which character was responsible for these horrible crimes! It's a puzzle until the last few pages. Just the way I like my mysteries.

You'll recognize some of the names in the book too, some you won't, but they're all a part of the case. Did I mention there's an appearance or two by Humphrey Bogart? There is. It's his movie that's being sabotaged.

I loved the characters. The author is brilliant at developing them. Not just Johnny Spicer, but the supporting characters like Tess, Will, and even Bobby Winfield, the LAPD detective from Oliver's book, Silents! (I was so happy to see him again!). Spicer is no slouch. Like Winfield, he's smart, quick-thinking and on top of all the aspects of the case. He's a great leading character that I found myself thinking about even after I finished the book. It's safe to say I liked him.

The author knows quite a bit about Hollywood history. He includes a lot of the places and names from the Golden Age era, but only to bring the story along, not to show off his knowledge. It was never a distraction. That's why this is is such a fun story to read for meľ I felt like I was there, watching all this happen and learning a bit of history in the meantime. I was never distracted by missing information or pages of details that made no sense to the story.

Revolver was pure escapist fun written in a wonderfully organized, detailed prose. Once again, this is another H. P. Oliver novel that I didn't want to end.

~Sarah Owens


A "Keeper!"

"You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve. You just put your lips together and . . . blow." A good looking woman says the line and becomes so much more than just good looking. You immediately see the languid look and lots of possibilities. I love Black Mask detective fiction. Short sentences (in this case sixteen words) paint memorable characters in memorable books--"keepers."

My new "keeper" is Revolver, by H. P. Oliver. In no time at all, the voice reading to me was Johnny Spicer's. He was telling me his story: a 1930's Los Angeles P.I. that has been around, but still in the process of "seeing it all". Spicer's savvy handling of an autocrat like Jack Warner is smart. Warner's movie is being sabotaged. Solving the problem of the why and whom is all getting done while navigating the 1939 streets and boulevards of LA (before freeways). The book is pure period 1930s: the street names, the famous restaurants, the glamorous cars, the not so glamorous movie studio, and the infamous people--all carefully researched and in plain view.

This story has the touches that should make another author's eyes turn green and their smile twisted - what a line! When you read ". . . he was one of those nervous types who always seems to be motion, even when they aren't." or "I grinned a big grin as I said it, but somewhere inside I had the distinct feeling I'd just told her a fib." or ". . . gave me a glare that might have been hot enough to melt a polar icecap or two." you have to admire the less than twenty words that paint a great picture and give colorful insight into character.

This is my feeble attempt to write a 1930s style review to tell you about a 1930's detective story. The book exceeds this review by leaps and bounds. I had such a good time reading Revolver, I hope you do too.

~Lilly


Well Crafted, Engrossing and Fun.

From the opening sentence of the first chapter until the conclusion, Revolver is H. P. Oliver's most entertaining book to date. The plot is intricate and keeps the reader finding different solutions to the crimes. The pace of the book is compelling and the dialogue has more edge. Private Detective Johnny Spicer returns and his character has evolved as the author develops the character. His wisecracks and observations were enjoyable in the previous book, Pacifica, and his delivery is more refined in Revolver.

Humphrey Bogart and Jack Warner, of Warner Brothers, are key characters in the story, and the plot integrated their personalities and actions in a believable manner - this could have actually happened. Along the way, the reader receives a small insight into the workings of a big 1939 studio, and the sometimes vicious decisions made during moviemaking. The first sentence of the book captures one real life character perfectly, for both the story and back when he was alive.

As usual for HPO, the era, 1939 in this story, is brought to life. His precise, detailed descriptions of the greater Los Angeles area, transportation, structures, events and people are a counterpoint to today's LA environment. A map of the area from 1939 is included, which allows the reader to understand character movements. I kept thinking things like, "Why doesn't he just jump on the 405?" Oh. There was no 405, that's when the familiar streets, aka, exits off the freeway today, were the actual arteries.

Famous landmarks are integrated into the story, as well as the not so famous, or perhaps forgotten. To really grasp the era, check out the author's website and view the "Visualizations" he provides. Barney's Beanery, the cool Carpenter's Sandwiches, the Breakers Hotel in its glory, among others is each brought to the present from 1939. Do you sort of think you know what the Bugatti Type 57 Coupe or 1930's Cadillac convertible look like? Read the book, follow along online, and increase your enjoyment of the story.

Revolver is well crafted, engrossing and fun.

~LVReader


Another Hit from H. P. Oliver.

Johnny Spicer strikes again! I really like H. P. Oliver's private investigator, Johnny Spicer, and this book doesn't disappoint as his second full-length novel featuring this character. If you've read any of Oliver's other works, you're already familiar with his gift for drawing you right into the times in which the stories are set with his vivid descriptions of the locales, his use of the jargon of the day, and his understanding of the culture at the time.

This book takes us back to old Hollywood when stars were idolized by the public - the real glamour days of Tinsel Town. Through Johnny we meet some folks with familiar names, like Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, and Jack Warner. We also get a glimpse behind the facade that movie studios of the day built around their stars.

All that's well and good, but we all know we don't keep reading unless there's a good story to hold our attention, and this one does. In true fashion with Oliver's tales, the pieces all fit together eventually, but you don't find out who the bad guy (or gal) is until he's ready to let you in on it. It's a good story and an easy read. I'm already ready for Oliver's next creation.

~Mississippi Ms


A History Mystery from Hollywood's Golden Age.

Nefarious events threaten to halt the filming of a major motion picture in Hollywood, California. Detective Johnny Spicer is hired by Hollywood legend Jack Warner to find out who is behind the efforts to stop production of his newest film. Can Spicer solve the case before more people are killed? Find out in this new thrilling history mystery.

Having been born well after the Golden Age of Hollywood I was not so sure I would enjoy this book. Well, the author HP Oliver soon resolved those thoughts and by the first chapter I was interested. By the third chapter he had me thoroughly intrigued. I loved the story, its characters and their interactions. Mr. Oliver is an excellent story teller and he painted such a vivid picture I got lost in his tale.

If you are enthralled by the history of 1930's Hollywood or you just like an engaging history mystery I would definitely recommend H. P. Oliver's book Revolver. I liked the story so much I'm going to have to take a look at the author's other titles.

~William Struse