The Big Thrill Discusses HOLLYWOOD HUSTLE with Jon Lindstrom
Winston Greene, a has-been film star, wakes one morning to find his six-year-old granddaughter at his bedside—traumatized, unattended, and gripping onto a thumb drive. She comes bearing video proof that her mother, Win’s troubled adult daughter, has been kidnapped by a murderous gang demanding all his “movie money” for her safe return. But what they don’t know is…his movie money is long gone.
Unable to go to the police for fear the kidnappers will make good on their promise to kill his daughter, Winston turns to two close friends—a legendary Hollywood stuntman and a disgraced former LAPD detective.
There’s no easy way out for Winston or his daughter—the gang is violent and willing to do anything to get the money they’re after, and Winston begins to realize that to get his daughter back, he’ll have to beat the kidnappers at their own game.
This propulsive and tense thriller will transport readers to the seedier side of LA, depicted in bold prose by a Hollywood insider.
Jon Lindstrom recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his debut crime fiction, HOLLYWOOD HUSTLE.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
The actual life of “Hollywood” is rarely portrayed accurately, or even honestly. I hope I was able to convey some truth about it. I also couldn’t get some of the more talented, but cursed, members of the industry out of my mind. Michael Madsen and the late Tom Sizemore are good examples of brilliantly gifted performers who have had epic public battles with substance abuse, and that has had a tremendous affect on their career trajectories. Most never recover to the height they once enjoyed. Then, of course, I had to imagine that it could have been me.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
I didn’t. But I think with any creative endeavor you reach a point of no return. You’ve just gotten so far into the story that you HAVE to see where it ends, even if you don’t know how to get there yet.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
It really just started with a “What if?” moment. One morning I found myself in front of the computer asking myself the question, “What if an actor who’s been very successful and famous in the past, but no longer is, and the worst thing that could happen, happens?” I went from there and just let it come out on its own. I also think I wanted to say something about the public perception of those of us in Hollywood. Many people think we’re all rolling in it, but I would hope the strikes have tempered that belief some.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
I love Elmore Leonard’s books, particularly Freaky Deaky. And the film adaptation of his 52 Pick-Up was definitely an inspiration. Curiously, whenever I write screenplays I tend to play the kind of music I think the characters would listen to, or would be used on the soundtrack. But for this book, I played no music at all, nor had any rolling around in my head.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I would hope they gain a better understanding of the travails that Hollywood professionals encounter, but also a sense that we lucky enough to work in this business are very, very grateful for it.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I feel I just have to keep writing about LA, and “Hollywood” in particular. There is a very dark side to it all, and I want to explore that more. My next book will deal (metaphorically) with the prison mindset that can persist in this town, and will likely involve a massacre before it’s all over. The next one will probably be a “You will know him by the trail of dead” kind of thing.
A 4-time Emmy© nominee, Jon Lindstrom can be seen in studio movies, independent films and literally thousands of hours of TV, working with several A-list directors and alongside many of Hollywood’s biggest names. An award-winning filmmaker, his films have won multiple film festival accolades. His writing has twice won recognition at the Launchpad Prose Competition and several top screenplay competitions. For several years he was the drummer for The High Lonesome, scoring two hits on the Billboard Hot 100. He lives in Los Angeles.
To learn more about the author, please visit his website.
HOLLYWOOD HUSTLE with JON LINDSTROM