Michael Drayton

Created by John Wilder

Santa Barbara dick MICHAEL DRAYTON is pushing fifty, has an office in Westwood, a daughter he wishes he saw more of and a checkered past that includes biracial parents and stints as a stunt man and a cop. He gets drawn into the investigation of a nasty double homicide involving Jeremy Thomas, a major, Oscar-winning movie star, and Ken Chernak, a struggling, unknown actor -- the nobody of the title -- in a much ballyhooed debut, Nobody Dies in Hollywood (2015).

Chernak's father hires Drayton because he fears the official investigation of his son's murder will be overshadowed by the superstar's fame, and that the police aren't keeping him in the loop. So he hires Drayton, because he's heard that he "knows people in Hollywood, he knows how to get answers."

But -- SURPRISE! -- Drayton's parallel investigation sets in motion a chain of events that pries off the lid of Tinsel Town, letting us all see what's squirming just beneath the surface.

With its short chapters (over seventy of them), crisp dialogue, punchy characterizations, fast action and Snap! Crackle! Pop! dialogue, there have been several comparisons already to Robert B. Parker. We'll see.

Nobody Dies in Hollywood may be the author's first novel, but his day job certainly sounds like fun -- he's an award-winning writer, producer and director for television whose credits include James Michener's Centennial, Return To Lonesome Dove, Spenser: For Hire and The Streets of San Francisco. His day job may also explain the stream of A-list and moneymen blurbs he's received from outside the genre, from assorted big shot producer types


  • "Nobody Dies In Hollywood is a deliciously enjoyable thriller, beautifully written, beautifully constructed and suspenseful through the last page. A powerfully compelling hero, private detective Michael Drayton walks the fabled 'mean streets' of Los Angeles with the courage of a Jack Reacher and the wisdom and moral compass of Raymond Chandlerís legendary Philip Marlowe. Wilder's intimate knowledge of Hollywood provides for a fabulous and thoroughly modern story, filled with thrilling surprises that, nevertheless, delivers the vintage depth of great detective novel pioneers. I hope this will be the first of a long series. A very satisfying read. A true pleasure."

-- Anne Rice

  • "Great story-telling in the classic P.O. tradition. Wilder's Hollywood experience adds extra savor. Michael Drayton is a character you'll want to meet again."

-- John Jakes

  • "With Nobody Dies in Hollywood, John Wilder exploits his deep knowledge of that venerable literary form, the detective novel, and makes it new again. Through the prism of his own career as a Hollywood insider, Wilder has created a truly original hero, Mike Drayton, who talks truth to power in his pursuit for justice for a forgotten victim. Along the way, Drayton tackles challenging questions of celebrity obsession, personal identity, and race in the face of his own existential crisis. This is a stunning debut."

--Howard Gordon, executive producer of 24 and co-creator/executive producer of Homeland

  • "...a contemporary crime book set in Los Angeles, combines the best qualities of the old masters like Chandler and Hammett with new contemporary stars like T. Jefferson Parker and George Pelecanos. Rich characters, sparkling dialogue, a good story line, and a strong moral underpinning. Aficionados of crime writing will love this book."

-- J.F. Freedman

  • "Expertly paced, exquisitely observed, and compulsively readable, this novel fairly raises detective fiction up from the dead. Mike Drayton is the perfect private eye for the new millennium. Robert B. Parker would be proud."

-- Alex Gansa, Emmy-winning co-creator/executive producer Homeland

  • "This guy Gansa says detective fiction is dead? Who knew?"

-- the editor


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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