The Prince of Beverly Hills (Rick Barron Series #1)

( 31 )

Overview

Rick Barron, a sharp, capable detective on the Beverly Hills force, finds himself demoted after a run-in with a superior officer, but he soon lands a job other cops only dream about: the security detail for Centurion Pictures, one of the hottest studios in the midst of Hollywood's golden age of the late 1930s. As the protector of the studio's interests, Barron looks after the elite of filmdom's stars - among them Clete Barrow, a British leading man with a penchant for parties, and Glenna Gleason, a peach of a ...

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The Prince of Beverly Hills (Rick Barron Series #1)

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Overview

Rick Barron, a sharp, capable detective on the Beverly Hills force, finds himself demoted after a run-in with a superior officer, but he soon lands a job other cops only dream about: the security detail for Centurion Pictures, one of the hottest studios in the midst of Hollywood's golden age of the late 1930s. As the protector of the studio's interests, Barron looks after the elite of filmdom's stars - among them Clete Barrow, a British leading man with a penchant for parties, and Glenna Gleason, a peach of a talent on the verge of stardom." Rick's easy charm has society columnists dubbing him "the Prince of Beverly Hills," the white knight of movie stars, until he stumbles across a murder cover-up and a blackmail scam that threaten the studio's business and may have origins with some unsavory characters. When two suspicious deaths begin to look like a double murder, and an attempt is made on someone who has become an intimate friend, Barron knows he is up against wise guys whose stakes are nothing less than do-or-die. A dicey war of nerves is on.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A recently demoted police detective gets caught up in the privileged and often dangerous world of 1939 Hollywood in Wood's solid 29th novel. His first night back in uniform, Rick Barron witnesses a car accident in which Clete Barrow, a drunk Hollywood A-lister, is involved. Though the other driver dies, Rick performs "Hollywood damage control," whisking Clete away from the scene. Centurion Studios' vice-president, grateful for Rick's "professional ethics," offers him the director of security post previously held by John Kean, who died in a suspicious murder-suicide a month earlier. Rick delivers Clete to the sets on time and keeps the star's drinking problem in check while dining at restaurants buzzing with vintage Hollywood royalty like Greta Garbo, Jack Benny and Spencer Tracy. He also comes to the studio's rescue again by covering up gorgeous starlet Glenna Gleason's apparent suicide attempt and budding actress Martha Werner's botched abortion. X-rated pictures that Rick finds in Kean's old safe get him into discussions with L.A. mob boss Bugsy Siegal while ducking blows from his henchman, Chick Stampano, who, along with Glenna and the Keans, appears in those pics. While romancing Glenna and gaining heroic notoriety, Rick learns of Stampano's involvement in a variety of crime scenes and, after the violence notches up, the men square off in an exciting head-to-head climax. Woods's sturdy, self-assured crime thriller is satisfying enough to expand an already immense fan base. Agent, Anne Sibbald at Janklow & Nesbit. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Simultaneous with the Putnam hardcover. Exclusive rights in the United States. Read by Tony Roberts. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In Hollywood of 1939, a handsome young policeman makes good as a studio security officer, battling a sadistic mobster, finding love, and rubbing elbows with movie stars. While patrolling the Sunset Strip late one evening, Beverly Hills cop Rick Barron happens upon the immediate aftermath of a bad two-car accident. He recognizes the barely injured occupant of one vehicle as highly intoxicated British matinee idol Clete Barrow. The quick-thinking Rick, at the instruction of Barrow's handler Eddie Harris, whisks the movie star away from the scene, allowing the studio to spin its own version of the crash and Barrow to emerge unscathed. As a result, Rick lands a job as Barrow's shadow, charged mainly with keeping the star sober and ready for his early morning calls. Other security odd jobs come Rick's way. He becomes pals with Barrow, whose heavy drinking stems in part from concern over the nascent conflict in Europe and his desire to help the British war effort. Through Barrow, Rick meets Gable & Lombard, Garbo, Niven, and other luminaries, who make cameo appearances. Mystery swirls around Rick's predecessor, John Kean. The distraught Kean allegedly shot his wife before turning his gun on himself. In Kean's office safe, Rick finds incriminating photos of four people having kinky sex, the Keans and another unidentified couple, whom Rick meets shortly. The man is hotheaded soldier of Bugsy Siegal, Chick Stampano, in appearance a latter-day Valentino who likes to take out his anger on starlets. (Organized crime is moving into Hollywood in a big way; Lucky Luciano also has a foothold.) One of these starlets is the girl in the picture, Glenna Gleason, whom Rick woos by inches. Stampano becomesRick's nemesis, their confrontations progressively escalating until a final showdown becomes inevitable. Woods (Reckless Abandon, 2004, etc.) writes with smooth confidence as famous names add spice to a diverting summer read that simmers but never gets hard-boiled. First printing of 225,000; agency: Janklow & Nesbit
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451214621
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2005
  • Series: Rick Barron Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 169,362
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 7.56 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Stuart Woods
Stuart Woods is the author of twenty-seven novels. He lives in Maine, Florida, and New York City.

Biography

Stuart Woods was born in 1938 in Manchester, Georgia. After graduating from college and enlisting in the Air National Guard, he moved to New York, where he worked in advertising for the better part of the 1960s. He spent three years in London working for various ad agencies, then moved to Ireland in 1973 to begin his writing career in earnest.

However, despite his best intentions, Woods got sidetracked in Ireland. He was nearly 100 pages into a novel when he discovered the seductive pleasures of sailing. "Everything went to hell," he quips on his web site "All I did was sail." He bought a boat, learned everything he could about celestial navigation, and competed in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) in 1976, finishing respectably in the middle of the fleet. (Later, he took part in the infamous Fastnet Race of 1979, a yachting competition that ended tragically when a huge storm claimed the lives of 15 sailors and 4 observers. Woods and his crew emerged unharmed.)

Returning to the U.S., Woods wrote two nonfiction books: an account of his transatlantic sailing adventures (Blue Water, Green Skipper) and a travel guide he claims to have written on a whim. But the book that jump-started his career was the opus interruptus begun in Ireland. An absorbing multigenerational mystery set in a small southern town, Chiefs was published in 1981, went on to win an Edgar Award, and was subsequently turned into a television miniseries starring Charlton Heston.

An amazingly prolific author, Woods has gone on to pen dozens of compelling thrillers, juggling stand-alone novels with installments in four successful series. (His most popular protagonists are New York cop-turned-attorney Stone Barrington, introduced in 1991's New York Dead, and plucky Florida police chief Holly Barker, who debuted in 1998's Orchid Beach.) His pleasing mix of high-octane action, likable characters, and sly, subversive humor has made him a hit with readers -- who have returned the favor by propelling his books to the top of the bestseller lists.

Good To Know

Some fascinating facts about Stuart Woods:

His first job was in advertising at BBDO in New York, and his first assignment was to write ads for CBS-TV shows. He recalls: "They consisted of a drawing of the star and one line of exactly 127 characters, including spaces, and I had to write to that length. It taught me to be concise."

He flies his own airplane, a single-engine turboprop called a Jetprop, and tours the country every year in it, including book tours.

He's a partner in a 1929 motor yacht called Belle and spends two or three weeks a year aboard her.

In 1961-62, Woods spent 10 months in Germany with the National Guard at the height of the Berlin Wall Crisis.

In October and November of 1979, he skippered a friend's yacht back across the Atlantic, with a crew of six, calling at the Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands and finishing at Antigua in the Caribbean.

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    1. Hometown:
      Key West, Florida; Mt. Desert, Maine; New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 9, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Manchester, Georgia
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Georgia, 1959
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Prince of Beverly Hills


By Stuart Woods

Putnam Adult

ISBN: 0-399-15220-2


Chapter One

A brash detective enters the Hollywood fast lane-jammed with the sort of wealth, glamour, and blackmail it is famous for-in this new thriller by the bestselling author of the Stone Barrington series.

Stuart Woods's new novel is a sexy, action-packed thriller in the tradition of his best. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote about his last novel, Capital Crimes, "Woods knows how to deliver a taut, well-told tale . . . The last two paragraphs will make any reader gulp." In The Prince of Beverly Hills, set in Hollywood's Golden Age of the 1930s, Woods introduces a new character that possesses the kind of suave confidence, take-charge manner, and clever wit-under-pressure that his fans will recognize and love at first sight.

Rick Barron, a sharp, capable detective on the Beverly Hills force, finds himself demoted after a run-in with his captain, but soon lands a job on the security detail for Centurion Pictures, one of the hottest studios. As the protector of the studio's interests, Barron looks after the cream of the crop of filmdom's stars-Clete Barrow, the British leading man with a penchant for parties; and Glenna Gleason, a peach of a talent on the verge of superstardom. Rick's easy charm has society columnists dubbing him "the Prince of Beverly Hills," the white knight of movie stars, until he uncovers a murder cover-up and a blackmail scam that threatens the studio's business and may originate with the West Coast mob. When two suspicious deaths begin to look like double- murder, and an attempt is made on Glenna Gleason's life, Barron knows he is up against wise guys whose stakes are do-or-die. A dicey war of nerves is on.

Set in the era of high style and silver-screen romance, Woods's thoroughly entertaining new crime novel shows us once again why he is a "master of the genre" (Los Angeles Times).

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Prince of Beverly Hills by Stuart Woods Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2004

    HIGHLY LISTENABLE TALE OF LA LA LAND

    What better setting for a noir thriller than 1930s Hollywood ? Think Greta Garbo in a slinky long charmeuse gown. Think Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in navy blazer and impeccable white flannels. Think of all the power plays, machinations, and secret assignations. Who better to read this tale of a tawdry mess in tinseltown than voice actor Guerin Barry? Subtle yet suspenseful is his stock in trade which makes listeners not want to miss a syllable. Beverly Hills detective Rick Barron has smarts, gumption, and a healthy dose of self-esteem. Nonetheless, he's just been demoted. As luck would have it, he's on the scene when top box office draw Clete Barrow is involved in an auto accident. Barron, usually one to think on his feet, pulls Clete away from the scene thus avoiding some nasty publicity. The head of Centurion Pictures is so grateful to Barron that he offers him the job of studio security chief (his predecessor having gone to his eternal reward in a murder/suicide). One dream of a job thinks Barron. All he has to do is keep Barrow sober enough to emote, and look after some local lovelies. Romance blossoms with one of the lovelies and soon the pair are seen about town, and the press is calling Barron 'The Prince of Beverly Hills.' But heavy, heavy is the princely crown when a couple of murders occur. (Even Bugsy Siegal is involved in the dirty deeds). Give a listen to an absorbing tale of crime that needs punishment in La La land. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2011

    Stuart Woods' Best Book Yet

    This is Stuart Woods' best book yet, and Rick Barron is his most likeable character. I thought I'd read everything Woods had written, but somehow I missed this one and its sequel. After discovering "Prince" three years ago I have read it four times and listened to the audiobook on several driving trips. I never get tired of Rick and the other characters with which Woods populated this novel. He makes them seem very real and with a couple of exceptions (the bad guys), they seem like people you really wish you could know. So, despite the fact that I already have two copies in hardback, and the audiobook, I now find myself at BN buying the Nook version. It is that good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2009

    Ironic Transformation of a Street Cop

    The Prince of Beverly Hills is a thriller/mystery novel about a cop who recognized a chance to make a lot of money during the 1930s. Rick Barron a cop recently demoted in the department witnessed an accident involving a high profile actor that was drunk. Clete, the actor, was transported by Rick to the studio where he was sobered up and Rick received a high paying security job. His first task was to keep Clete as sober as possible and surprisingly Rick and Clete become extremely close friends. But as the book progresses Rick becomes entangled in a high stake blackmail game. The blackmailer (a city gangster) rapes Centurion Studio's female actors while they are drugged and he forces them to pay so that he doesn't release pictures. Rick ends up outwitting the gangster in the end, but Rick's new girlfriend was severely beaten up by the gangster so Rick takes matters into his own hands and kills the thug. During this time World War II was in progress and Rick decides to escape prosecution so he joins the Air force. Before he left to war however, he learns his close friend Clete was killed in combat while fighting for the British.
    The major theme in this book is that Rick was a rather greedy cop who wanted money so he went against what he had been taught to do as a police officer. Although a rogue cop, Rick changes towards the end and when an opportunity arises for him to stay at the studio and continue to make a lot of money he decides to fight for his country in World War II. I really liked the setting of the book because it gave readers a strong sense of being alive during the 1930s and what was happening in Hollywood at the time. I also loved all the action that was involved whether it was a high speed car chase or a brutal fight with a gangster. Yet at the same time a friendship was formed between an unlikely duo that will warm reader's hearts. Although a fantastic novel I disliked the fact that there wasn't really anything that I can take away from the novel. No real theme was shown and I feel like there was no connection from the book to my own life.
    After reading this I highly recommend this book. The fast pace action while enthrall all readers as well as a glance at the 1930s era. The journey that Rick Barron undergoes throughout the book makes this an interesting yet thrilling novel as we watch Rick change before our eyes.

    Another book that I would recommend to readers is a book by Stuart Woods called Beverley Hills dead. This book is also about Rick Barron who returns to Centurion Studios after the war and again encounters another mystery. It is a great book that continues the life of Rick Barron as a producer after the war.

    Overall a great book, 4 star.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2006

    Great!

    A great read - loved the time period the storyline took place - a good mystery and being a Hollywood setting, it was also just a 'fun' mystery as well. Hope Woods does another like it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2005

    ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS

    Stuart Woods is a great author. The Prince of Beverly Hills is the kind of book you can't put down. You always want to continue to see what's going to happen. I would recommend this book to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2005

    What a Nice Change of Pace from the Tried and Overdone Stone Barrington Novels

    Breaking his formulaic mold of Stone Barrington, Woods did an excellent job on 'Prince' in several ways. He did his research. He overlapped real and fictional characters in a way that this 'film noir' type novel keeps you guessing who he is trying to get you to picture. You may not like his novels, but if you do, you are missing a real jewel if you fail to give this a read. He really captures Hollywood circa 1940 in a truly masterful and entertaining way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2005

    Don't bother

    If you like books with silly story lines (cop turned movie producer - give me a break), one dimensional, undeveloped characters, and lacking any substance whatsoever then this is the book for you! What a complete waste of time. I read another Woods' book a few years ago and only read this one because it was a gift. The one I read then sucked and this one did too. This will be my last Stuart Woods book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2004

    What a Disappointment

    Sorry Stuart Woods, but you should stick with Stone Barington and not try to be James Ellroy (a la L.A. Confidential)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2004

    Beverly Hills Cop, The Prequal

    I have always been a Stuart Woods fan and have enjoyed all the Stone Barrington novels. In these books, Woods never disapoints, with a successful formula of a likable (but flawed) character. In 'The Prince of Beverly Hills' he moves into a period piece that takes the reader back to a time that most of us only know from books or movies. It is thoroughly well researched, while being historically placed just prior to World War II. 'Prince' offers an interesting perspective on Cops, The Mob, and Hollywood in the late 30's, early 40's. This may actually be the first 'Beverly Hills Cop' story! I found 'Prince' quite entertaining and informative, and feel that it is one of Woods'best. Some may suggest that writing about this 'period' of California history belongs to James Elroy, but I think they would be wrong!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2005

    New Hero

    Though I was disappointed and reluctant to pick up the Prince of Beverly Hills when I discovered it was not another Stone Barrington novel, I decided to give it a try anyway. A few pages into the story and I was caught up in the atmosphere and time period (the 1930's) and was instantly won over by Rick Barron, the former detective turned protector of a major Hollywood studio. Once again, Stuart Woods has delivered!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2004

    Another great Stuart Woods book

    I can't believe some fans of Stuart Woods didn't like this book. It is different than his usual present day settings and didn't have the familiar characters, but worth the read. I am never disappointed in Woods' writing and have recommended this book to many. Can't wait for his next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2004

    What a disappointment

    I have read all that Stuart Woods has to offer and boy was I let down big time on this one!!!! I kept reading thinking this has to get better but I have been more stunned that his name is actually on the book then the boredom I am feeling while reading it. Must be a very bad ghost writer. If this is your first Woods book do no dispair it is the worst.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2004

    ARE YOU KIDDING?

    I seemed to have missed the boat on this one - it is one of the most boring books I have ever read. I am a great fan of Stuart Woods and have read all of his books, but this one falls quite short of his work. I am almost finished and still haven't figured out the story line. Oh please go back to Stone Barrington.......leave the 1930's in the 1930's.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Unputdownable

    After years working as a Beverly Hills detective, Rick Barron is busted down to police officer because he got his captain¿s daughter pregnant. One night he witnesses a traffic accident and recognizes that famous movie star Clete Barrow caused it. He quickly removes the license plates and registration from the vehicle so that no one knows that Clete caused the accident while under the influence of alcohol. On Clete¿s instructions, Rick calls Eddie Harris, a Centurion Studios Executive, who knows the right people to make the mess go away..................................... Eddie is so impressed with Rick¿s handling of the fiasco he offers him a job as head of security. Rick eagerly accepts the position. His first assignment is to baby sit Clete until the film is finished. In the course of his new job, he crosses paths with Rick Stampano who has connections with Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano. Stampano has a habit of beating up and almost killing studio girls; Rick tries to intercede and makes a deadly enemy. In an act of revenge, Stampano beats up Rick¿s fiancée; an incident that must not go unpunished............................. Stuart Woods has written a fantastic stand alone tale that captures the ambience of Hollywood just prior to World War II through tidbits and real notables like Hedda Hopper referring to Rick as THE PRINCE OF BEVERLY HILLS because of his fancy garbs. The antagonist is a nasty person whom today would be considered a stalker for his preying on starlets, but the law cannot touch him since none of the victims want the adverse publicity. This is a rich, complex thriller about Hollywood, home to extortion, blackmail, and murder...................................... Harriet Klausner

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    Posted March 15, 2011

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    Posted July 3, 2010

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    Posted January 22, 2010

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    Posted February 20, 2011

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    Posted October 12, 2010

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