Eccentric private eye Charlie Waldo is back in another wildly fun and fast-paced thriller lampooning Southern California.
Former LAPD detective Charlie Waldo was living in solitude deep in the woods, pathologically committed to owning no more than one hundred possessions, until his PI ex-girlfriend Lorena dragged him back to civilization to solve a high-profile Hollywood murder. Now Waldo and Lorena have their hands full with a new client, a wild and privileged L.A. teenager named Stevie Rose who tells lies as easily as she breathes.
When the teacher Stevie claims seduced her turns up dead, the LAPD pegs her as the prime suspect. Then Stevie disappears, and her self-involved Hollywood parents turn to Waldo to find her—a task that draws him down into Orange County’s dangerous and complex worlds, both opulent and seedy, where nothing is as it seems.
With treachery and deception at every turn, and with Waldo’s eco-obsessed rules for living complicating his already complicated relationship with Lorena, Waldo fends off enemies old and new as he races to find Stevie and solve the murder.
About the Author
Howard Michael Gould began his career on Madison Avenue before moving to Los Angeles, where he has worked as a screenwriter and playwright as well as an executive producer and head writer of a number of network television series. Below the Line is his second novel, following the introduction of detective Charlie Waldo in Last Looks.
“In Gould’s rollicking sequel to 2018’s Last Looks, Stevie Rose, a wealthy 15-year-old girl, hires PI Charlie Waldo, a former LAPD detective, and Lorena, Charlie’s boss and girlfriend to find her missing brother, Terrence…the entertaining characters are enough to keep readers turning the pages. Fans of quirky PIs will find a lot to like.” —Publishers Weekly
“Seasoned TV writer Gould's offbeat second novel all but assures his series has legs. Or at least large paws.” —Kirkus
“Now two books in, Howard Michael Gould has shown to be one of the freshest voices on the crime thriller scene in years, and his latest, Below the Line, is a fun, twisting read that proves his series has a long, bright future ahead of it.” —The Real Book Spy
“If you crave relief from all of the snarling, hucksterism, pomposity, lying, cheating, sniffing, scratching and sneering that passes for public discourse these days, read this novel... It’ll leave you laughing until you get the hiccups!” —Mysterious Book Report
Praise for Howard Michael Gould and 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 Connelly 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.” —Providence Journal
“Gripping, smart, and funny, Last Looks features a wholly new and compelling hero in former-detective-turned-PI Charlie Waldo. With razor-sharp dialogue, hard-boiled 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
“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)
“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
“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
“Exciting.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Gould’s script-writing 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.” —Bookreporter.com
“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.” —Library Journal
“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, bestselling Peter Ash series
“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.” —Booklist
“Last Looks is more than just a fun ride—it’s a new spin on a Hollywood PI 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 one hundred 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
“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