Some people live their lives on a virtual collision course never stopping along the way to find a different path that might be less treacherous. Sometimes on the road to success or finding that right path we create situations for ourselves and others that make the collisions even more dangerous and the end result a disaster. Money and success are sometimes the perfect combination to ignite the sparks needed to send that car on a downward spiral. David Armitage has lived his life as a writer and like most aspiring authors or screenwriters rejection is just part of the normal process on the bumpy road to success. As a Hollywood screenwriter David had to develop what some might call a thick skin for rejection but when after so many years his agent calls and tells him she sold his pilot to FRT he is more than overjoyed. He is beyond words. FRT is the hottest network for producing original programs on cable and he just became part of their team.
With many stars fame comes with a high price and some do not know how to handle it when the onset is so fast and the climb quickened with the same speed a space shuttle is sent into space or a plane about to take off on a runway. David becomes jaded real fast and the money that he did not have before comes pouring and his lifestyle and attitude towards life takes on a whole new meaning. New house, super new flashy car and no longer having to struggle to pay his bills or worry about where his next check will come from and when, David decides to become not only a jetsetter in the television industry but with women too. FRT not only bought his pilot for “Selling You,” they sign him for an entire series with special bonuses for overseeing each episode. To most men this would be great and make his family life better and hopefully make his wife happy. But, David’s wife becomes leery about his late nights, long weekends away and Lucy decides to find out more. What she does will not surprise the reader and the end result not very startling as she shows David the door and he now loses both his wife and daughter. But, thanks to his agent his love interest worries have been satisfied when she introduced him to Sally Birmingham. Tossed between leaving his wife and his new found love for Sally, David feels he can have the best of both worlds convincing Sally that he needed more time and convincing himself he would not get caught. Sally is a producer at Fox Network and now that he has the money, the girlfriend, a great place to live and the respect of those in the field, he should be riding on cloud nine. But, David is not!
Investment brokers are there to help multiply your bank account and hopefully theirs too by making great investments that are successful for both the client and the broker. When David meets Bobby Barra this was supposed to be his rocket ship to even more riches. Along with Sally he was sure to have it all. But, sometimes we do not look deeply enough into someone’s eyes to see their true colors and the whites just might not be so white if you look hard enough. With that he wrote a check for 50 thousand dollars and was promised double within six months. Added to mix would be a deadly combination of Dave and a man named Philip Fleck what would definitely be his downfall. Money, collaboration and lack of much thought go into this new enterprise. As a film director he did not always succeed but as a billionaire he certainly did. Dropping out of sight many times with reviews on his film The Last Chance anything but favorable, Phillip Fleck’s ego was tarnished and his pride deflated. But, his bank account stayed the same. The lure came just like the worm on a fishhook. Dave received an invitation to meet Phil on his Caribbean retreat in Antigua. But, just who is Phillip Fleck and when will he arrive is a major question that anyone would have since David spends quite a bit of time there viewing movies and films without the elusive Mr. Fleck. Added in his is constant bickering with his ex-wife, juggling his time to see his daughter and hopefully Sally too. Where is this going still remains to be seen as David has yet to meet the billionaire and his wife Martha is about to come into the picture.
David has yet to meet Phillip Fleck and meeting his wife was quite unsettling to him as she ran over his entire dossier and much as he explained why the script he read was poorly written and he began thinking twice about the upcoming collaboration. Scriptwriter Martha Fleck, Phil’s wife describes their courtship and her attraction to this man but was he someone Dave wanted to work with? Let the games begin as Phil never planned to meet David and his ultimate goal was to destroy him. Meeting him would prove quite enlightening and getting pulled into his web of lies the first step to his downfall.
Avalanches and landslides are totally unpredictable and David is about to find out just how far down when he gets one phone call from his producer, Brad Bruce. In print in a rag called Hollywood Legit, one of those gossip papers, David is accused front and center of Plagiarism. Even though everyone knows the truth and he is not a plagiarist, someone planted the story and the column The Inside Dirt was set to go on newsstands the follow day. The end result was really surprising as the major executives went to bat for him and took care of the man behind the story. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg that is about to melt and float his career away.
What happens next would definitely destroy anyone especially when blindsided like Dave was. The evidence mounted up and the prove seemed to be in more than just black and white as his relationship with the studios came to an end and his love life went up in smoke. Will anyone be there to defend him? What about his agent? But, if things could not get worse they did. Caught on camera attacking the journalist that started this downward mudslide and barred from seeing his own daughter Dave would now have to find his way back up but could he and how?
The decisions we make in life are potent and sometimes control our destiny. But, when we are tempted and taste that fatal drink of power and success what happened to David is not very different from what we read in the news today. Deceit, lies, jealousy and one man’s desire to rise to the top at all cost regardless of the end result are just some of the issues author Douglas Kennedy brings to light in his novel. One friend sticks by David while others play ping-pong with his life.
What happens you will have to learn for yourself as David looks long and deep within himself to find the real answers to his problems. Decisions are yours to make and whether someone plays a manipulative hand in them you are still accountable. Author Douglas Kennedy weaves an intricate plot that takes the reader deep inside the world of Hollywood and what happens when one man wants to play God, rule the big screen and decides to take down the one man who can help him get there. For you take that taste of success remember what some Temptations can bring you terrible end results. Temptations: Money, clothes, big cars, trips and much more: What’s your downfall? David Armitage: will you get tempted again?
Fran Lewis: Reviewer