Books by Robert Westbrook

ROBERT WESTBROOK is the author of a number of mystery and thriller novels. He lives in New Mexico.


Released: July 11, 2006

"Ho-hum for the conspiracy, but the 62-year-old newshound, who takes his buffeting with Candide-like jauntiness, is an authentic charmer."
Pulitzer Prize-winner Anderson's posthumously published final exercise in (fictional) muckraking (Millennium,1994, etc.)—about a conspiracy as unlikely as it is dastardly. Read full book review >
NONFICTION
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

The romance between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham, as earnestly rendered by her novelist son (Rich Kids, 1992, etc.). In July of 1937, when 40-year-old Fitzgerald headed for his third stint in Hollywood, his novels were for the most part out of print, he was nearly $40,000 in debt, and his wife, Zelda, was institutionalized. Still, he was not drinking; he was filled with determination. At a party of Robert Benchley's, he spotted Sheilah Graham, a former chorus girl from London's East End who was working as a gossip columnist for a newspaper syndicate. She and Fitzgerald started an affair; she was initially nervous because he asked detailed questions about her childhood, and she'd invented aristocratic relatives and falsely described herself as a bored society girl who'd been slumming in the theater. But she finally spilled the truth, describing the poverty that had driven her mother to have her committed to an orphanage and the sexual maneuverings that had accompanied her life onstage. He was tender, drawn by her vulnerability and curious about her character (she became the model for the heroine of The Last Tycoon). Their romance was punctuated by his occasional, cataclysmic tumbles off the wagon. He steered her to great books; she tried to control his drinking. Periodically they would break up; always they would reconcile. He died at her home in December 1940. Despite Westbrook's family ties, it's Grahamthe sex-charged, self-invented womanwho remains two-dimensional. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, mesmerizes as he self-destructs, compelling his lover with his fragility and generosity and trumpeting his pain and frustration via bludgeoning cruelty and extravagant gin binges. What lingers, though, is not the unsynchronized dance of the lovers' mutual demons, but the portraitfamiliar but poignant nonethelessof Hollywood running roughshod over literary talent, and of the grim ravages of alcoholism. (photos, not seen.) (Author tour) Read full book review >
RICH KIDS by Robert Westbrook
Released: May 1, 1992

Westbrook (Lady Left, The Left-Handed Policeman), son of the late Hollywood gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, returns with a lurid family portrait and murder mystery, set in the moneyed world in which he grew up (the same world we glimpse in half-sister Wendy Fairey's nonfictional One of the Family, p. 228). Jonno is a piano player in a singles bar in Petaluma when he finds out that his movie honcho father, whom he hasn't seen in over a decade, has been murdered. So Jonno heads back to the mansion in Hollywood Hills and the siblings he's fled. There's Rags, the oldest, now dying of AIDS; Carl, the family socialist, now running a shelter for the homeless; David, a studio head; Opera, teen star of a TV series; and half-sister Zoe—Jonno's obsession. When he was 11, Zoe—Botticelli-beautiful, intense, and manipulative—moved into the house; with parental supervision almost entirely lacking, the two began a torrid sexual affair. Now, arriving home after years on the road, Jono discovers that he is his father's principal heir—and the police's primary suspect. Undone by his still-strong attraction to Zoe (acted on most bizarrely when the two go at it on a pool table at the memorial service for dad!), Jonno blunders around, trying to unlock ancient angers and find out which of the poor little rich kids is behind his father's death. Jonno's investigation is lackluster: lots of driving around and screechy family battles end in a showdown that's both cataclysmic and contrived. But the atmospherics are entertaining enough, thanks to monster doses of movieland decadence. In all: an untaxing spin through Hollywood unhappiness. Read full book review >
LADY LEFT by Robert Westbrook
Released: Jan. 31, 1990

What begins as a very, very funny spin on actors and their Cause of the Month—in this instance, vacationing in Nicaragua to help the Sandinistas return to power—soon turns into a typical Westbrook trashy page-turner, with preposterous plot gimmicks, improbable sex scenes, and a cast of thousands. This time, though, Westbrook's sense of humor is the hook that keeps you reading. The convoluted plot centers on the attempts by Beverly Hills Homicide Chief Nicky Rachmaninoff (Nostalgia Kills, The Left-Handed Policeman) to find film star Katharine Hall's husband, Professor Corey Heard, who got lost in Nicaragua when he went off hunting Somoza's (rumored) buried treasure. Meanwhile, Nicky's romancing both his ex-wife and Katharine, her best friend; having conniptions about his daughter Tanya's taste in clothes, music, and boys; and fending off Octavio Morales, who thinks that buried treasure belongs to him (don't ask). Displaying a fine hand at slapstick, Westbrook's hybrid—part Hollywood satire/part madcap adventure novel—doesn't quite jell, but the good spirits here outweigh the flaws. Read full book review >