Deciding that the hopelessness he sees around him on New York’s squalid Lower East Side during the Great Depression isn’t for him, a young man invents an alter ego with the chutzpah he hopes will make a name for himself. In the process he accidentally ignites a war between the Irish mob and a Chinese tong, learns to drink and finds love for the first time. Will he and his alter ego ever reunite? They will have to if he doesn’t want to lose the love of a beautiful Broadway actress.
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About the Author
Wayne Clark is a Montreal writer and author of the historical novel That Woman: Beating the odds in colonial New York (2017) and the international award-winning literary fiction novel he & She (2013). In addition to writing fiction he has worked as a journalist, copywriter and translator.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A great story with timeless characters Hollywood via Orchard Street is the story of a young man named Charles who lived in New York’s Lower East Side during the Great Depression. Hoping to get out of the depressing neighborhood, he creates a persona that is braver and bolder than he feels he is. Charles’s dream starts to become a reality when he finds a typewriter in the ruins of a fire. He starts writing stories for newspapers. It didn't matter that the country was in a deep depression, or that his mother made him leave school after seventh grade to support her. Acting as his alter ego, named Bulldog, he is intent on getting out of a life of poverty without a future. Along the way, he inadvertently gets involved with the mob. Thus, begins a great story with timeless characters. Charles gets involved far more deeply than he wants to when he finds himself drawn into a plot to murder a theater critic, who gave a bad review of a musical that starred the mob boss’s girlfriend, herself a prisoner. Bulldog rescues her and falls in love with her as they hide from the gangster. While laying low, Bulldog’s reputation as a reporter grows day by day as he feeds inside information to a newspaper about the mobster and the apparent kidnapping of a Broadway beauty. Bulldog manages to recruit a rival gang, a Chinese tong, to intercede on their behalf. This is a story told with humor. The characters are highly credible, and you feel as if you are in that era with them. In the beginning, I thought Charles was full of himself, lazy. But as I read on, I understood him more and the challenge he had to overcome despite the obstacles he faced. In the end, I absolutely loved the book. My favorite character was Mi Ling, a Chinese girl, the daughter of the boss of the Chinese tong. She was the one who helped Bulldog get protection for the actress from her father’s organization. She is young, clever, determined, hardworking and very intelligent. One of my favorite parts of the book was Charles succeeding against all odds and discovering that the head of the feared Chinese tong was not a heartless person. He was a survivor in a foreign land, a man of honor and a caring father in his own way. I highly recommended this book. I couldn’t put it down. This book is for anyone who loves well-written historical novels, ones that are funny and full of gangsters and people who triumph against all odds.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite Hollywood via Orchard Street is an historical fiction novel written by Wayne Clark. It all started when he found that typewriter in the refuse left by the firefighters after a fire on Mangin Street. Just the fact that it was found on Mangin Street had a special significance for him. He seemed to recall stories that his dad had lived there or something like that. Charles had never known his dad; it had always been just him and his mom, except for those years when his mom had a gentleman friend whom he was instructed to call Uncle. This typewriter seemed magical in its promise. It was an Underwood Model 2, and his careful ministrations with a soft cloth made the instrument shine and seem as good as new. Charles Czerny knew he was destined to go places. It didn’t matter that the country was in the midst of a deep and enduring depression, or that his mother made him leave school after seventh grade to support her. Charles had the abiding conviction that the future was what you made it, and he saw an illustrious future indeed for himself. As I read Wayne Clark’s marvelous historical fiction novel, Hollywood via Orchard Street, I couldn’t help but wonder how much more Charles Czerny could do with all the modern conveniences of the internet at his fingertips, but then again, he does quite spectacularly with what’s available in his day and at his age. Clark’s coming of age tale is rich with the nuances and culture of Orchard Street and the people who lived in the Lower East Side during the Great Depression. I loved following as Charles gets involved in the newspaper trade and the trade wars between rival publishers, and marveled at the classic feel of this story about determination and belief in oneself. Clark’s plot is a grand one, and his characters are larger than life. Hollywood via Orchard Street is most highly recommended.
"The goal,” young Charles Czerny scribbled in pencil, “was to become someone else.”—The opening line of Hollywood via Orchard Street instantly sets the pace of this story about a young man’s ambitions to leave the lackluster life of Orchard Street, to do something more with his life than to sell newspapers on the street. Charles Czerny is a meek young man, a grade-seven dropout who can memorize poetry. He needs to create a persona that is tougher and bolder, a persona that will get him out of the depressing neighborhood he lives in. Hence, Bulldog is born. Bulldog creates a different life for himself by inadvertently hooking up with the mob. The mob life connects him with important people who help shape Bulldog into a respected newspaper writer of mob news that eventually leads to his connections writing for Hollywood. The mob life, also, connects him to the most important woman in his life, Miss Shantell Vox—the ex moll of the New York mob boss, the woman he saves and the woman he falls in love with. The characters of this story are so captivating and fully rounded out as the story progresses that the reader can’t help but to become a part of their lives. The writing is of the highest caliber. This is a gangster story, a love story, and a story of achievement with some humor thrown in for good measure. You won’t want to put this book down. Highly recommended!