Leonard's solid-gold pen squirts acid all over Hollywood--for which he's written several screenplays--in this multilayered, superbly entertaining crime thriller. Hollywood to Leonard is a whacked-out Wonderland stocked with schemers and dreamers, perfect foils for his underworld Alice, Miami loan-shark Chili Palmer. Chili arrives in Tinseltown by way of Vegas, where he's flown to track down Leo Devoe, who's welshed on a $15,000 loan--and has also bilked an airline of $300,000. Chili loses Devoe's trail, but picks up that of another deadbeat, schlock-film producer Harry Zimm (Slime Creatures, etc.). Flying to L.A., Chili breaks into Zimm's hideaway and confronts the producer, only to end up talking movies and agreeing to help him cool out the drug-dealing film investors Zimm owes money to--money he's lost in Vegas trying to raise a stake to produce a mainstream film, Mr. Lovejoy. It's those investors--vintage Leonard villains, especially sleek and sadistic Bo Catlett--plus Ray Bones, a wiseguy seeking to settle an old score, who keep Chili on his toes in triple-cross scenarios involving the airline's stolen $300,000 as he falls for a former horror starlet, helps Zimm rewrite Mr. Lovejoy (with many pages of shooting-script reproduced here), and tries to snare method star Michael Ware for the Lovejoy lead. Chili's life--along with the madcap plot--enfolds like origami when Ware, fascinated with the loan shark, decides to star as Chili in a film about Chili's Hollywood Adventure. And it all ends with Chili, flush with filmmaking fever, mulling over the best ending to that Film--because "Fuckin endings, man, they weren't as easy as they looked." Very smart and twisty and funny: a Leonard classic.