Praise for Last Looks
“Some books are just plain fun, sidesplitting in the case of Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey. And now, thanks to Last Looks, we can add Howard Michael Gould to that list...The relentlessly entertaining Last Looks actually resembles the work of Michael Connolly more than Hiaasen or Dorsey, its lightness wrought by the colorful Hollywood grotesques in a manner that would make Nathanael West (‘The Day of the Locust’) proud.”
“A wild, madcap homage to and satire of the Hollywood noir thriller. Gould, an accomplished screenwriter and showrunner, knows how to keep it fast, smart, and funny.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“The plot is good and the protagonist is even better. It's fast, funny, and well worth a sequel."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“TV writer Gould’s good-natured humor ranges from showbiz satire to Charlie’s bemused takes on modern urban life. And his characters are great.”
—The Seattle Times
—The Wall Street Journal
"Gould’s scriptwriting experience shines through here. Each page contains a number of crystal-clear images that beg for translation to video....There’s also some humor in just the right places to keep things from becoming too dark."
“Gould’s experience as a film and TV writer and producer is evident in this well-written first novel that manages to focus on environmental concerns while spoofing Hollywood clichés with a nod toward classic American detective fiction. Charlie Waldo would do well on the big screen—he does very well here.”
“Screenwriter Gould takes us behind the scenes and onto the sets of contemporary Hollywood, with loads of insider knowledge delivered in a thoroughly engaging way… A fast-paced and funny treat for anyone who loves the movies.”
“Gripping, smart and funny, Last Looks features a wholly new and compelling hero in former detective-turned-PI Charlie Waldo. With razor sharp dialogue, hardboiled intrigue, and a plot that hums along at high speed, Howard Michael Gould’s remarkable debut thriller is not to be missed.”
—Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Last Looks is more than just a fun ride—it’s a new spin on a Hollywood P.I. mystery. With a blend of humor and suspense that calls to mind Harlan Coben and Robert Crais, Howard Michael Gould brings to life the quirky Charlie Waldo, a former cop confined to 100 worldly possessions and the claustrophobia of his own guilt over a former case gone bad. His journey back to the world is a ride well worth taking.”
—Gregg Hurwitz, New York Times bestselling author
"Last Looks is a fun, fast, and quirky take on the essential depravity of modern society in general, and Hollywood in particular. Howard Michael Gould is both thoughtful and hilarious, and I can't wait to see what he does next."
—Nick Petrie, author of Light It Up and other books in the award-winning, best-selling Peter Ash series
“Fresh, thought-provoking, and funny, Last Looks is a wild ride through twenty-first century Hollywood—and a thriller with heart. Charlie Waldo is the best reluctant PI to hit the streets of L.A. in years.”
—Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of Into the Black Nowhere
"What a joy, amid all the bland, usual suspects flooding the crime genre, to discover a true standout. Charlie Waldo, the scruffy, eco-maniacal protagonist of Last Looks, is one of the most eccentric and compelling heroes to appear on the literary scene in—well, forever. Howard Michael Gould has penned a joy of a story, with a remarkable supporting case and a wonderfully convoluted plot that zips effortlessly among the Hollywood hills. I loved this book and recommend it with all my heart."
—William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author
In Gould's debut novel, ex-LAPD cop Charlie Waldo descends from his hill to investigate a high-profile murder.Once LAPD's top detective, Waldo has dropped out of society. Living in a tiny hilltop cabin above the city, he obsessively possesses only 100 things and minimizes his carbon footprint. He rides a bicycle and in three years has grown a large, scruffy beard. So when his former lover PI Lorena Nascimento shows up to ask for his help on a murder investigation, her first words are "Jesus, Waldo." TV Actor Alastair Pinch stands accused of murdering his wife, Monica, and as "a highly seasoned blackout drunk," he can't remember if he shattered a vase on her head or not. He wants to hire a PI to find out, and Lorena wants the job. But to get it she needs "the famous Charlie Waldo," who's unlicensed. Waldo doesn't want to "leave his woods and go down the mountain," and he doesn't need the money. Then three punks in a Prius show up and work him over, warning him to stay off the case—and when he says he has nothing to do with it, they show him the Variety headline "EX-COP PINCH HITS FOR PINCH." Lorena must have said he'd signed on. Once drawn into the case he meets Pinch, who plays a "cracker magistrate" as Judge Johnny in the hit courtroom drama Johnny's Bench. Also there's the gorgeous kindergarten teacher and porn actress Jayne White; Don Q, who demands that Waldo return a memory stick Waldo doesn't have; and Big Jim Cuppy, a cop who doesn't wish Waldo well. Charlie Waldo must be the only investigator in crime literature who has a composting toilet and thinks about whether a pair of socks is one item or two or whether a box of bullets is one thing or many. So the plot is good and the protagonist is even better.It's fast, funny, and well worth a sequel.
Consumed by guilt at a wrongful conviction in one of his cases, LAPD detective Charlie Waldo resigns and retreats to isolation in a tiny cabin in the woods. He becomes an ultraconservationist, limiting possessions to "100 things." Yet, when ex-girlfriend Lorena appeals for his help in saving Alistair Pinch, a famous movie actor accused of murdering his third wife, Charlie is lured back into society—specifically Hollywood. He is warned off by hoodlums, by Don Q., a drug lord, and by his former police colleagues. Lorena apparently is killed in a hit-and-run accident and Don Q. relentlessly and viciously seeks a memory device Charlie doesn't have. Torn between his cop training and instincts vs. his moral ecological position, he ultimately finds himself in a shoot-out on a Hollywood set. VERDICT Gould's experience as a film and TV writer and producer is evident in this well-written first novel that manages to focus on environmental concerns while spoofing Hollywood clichés with a nod toward classic American detective fiction. Charlie Waldo would do well on the big screen—he does very well here. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/18.]—Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale