The Torch Singer, Book One: An Overnight Sensation (Volume 1)

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9781926499000: The Torch Singer, Book One: An Overnight Sensation (Volume 1)
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"Robert Westbrook's novel strips the gilt off the Hollywood Golden Age to reveal the seamier underside. 'The Torch Singer' begins with an ending, a scene of murder and mayhem on St. Valentine's Night in 1956 Beverly Hills and unravels the many and various threads of the lives and careers that took them there."
Time Out

"The Torch Singer" is a sweeping historical saga that takes the reader from the horrors of Nazi-occupied Poland to the glittery excesses of Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s: the rise and fall of Sonya Saint-Amant, a singer who schemes her way to fame and glory breaking all the rules.

Book One, "An Overnight Sensation", charts the rise of Sonya from the age of 17 in 1940, a girl dreaming of being an understudy at the Krakow Opera when Nazis raid the theater. After witnessing the summary execution of her mother by German soldiers she escapes Poland and makes her way to London. Using guile and beauty, she finds passage to America in 1943 on the Mauretania, a dangerous North Atlantic crossing on a troop ship full of men. As the ship steams north into Arctic waters evading enemy submarines, Sonya almost wins at a high-stakes game of love . . . only to arrive in New York alone and desperate but determined to become a star.

"This is a masterpiece of storytelling which skilfully relates the rise and demise of sultry B-Singer Sonya Saint-Amant in a murder-mystery that intertwines hard-bitten noir-fiction and a Hollywood 'memoir'. The Torch Singer - An Overnight Sensation is a book of constant intrigue which creates that delicious paradox of it being immediately clear that nothing is ever quite as it seems."
Daily Mail

"Robert Westbrook is a born storyteller and a bit of a magician."
Ally Sheedy

"The Torch Singer" is an unforgettable journey through the shadowlands of fame.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Author:

My real Hollywood childhood isn't something I choose to revisit often. Generally I stay as far from Los Angeles as I can, and few people I meet have any idea that my mother was a famous Hollywood personality of her era. It's not exactly a secret, but I prefer to be taken for the person I have become rather than for the past that spawned me.

Yet it's not so easy to leave a Hollywood childhood behind. It follows after me, a ghost that won't quite go away - the beauty, the absurdities, the mink, the cars, the awful struggle of people I loved who fought so hard for their moment of fame. Finally, about ten years ago - at a time in my career when I had become bored with the mystery novels I was writing on a yearly basis - I decided I'd write a great juicy book that would bring alive the world I had known as a child, setting the story slightly before my own time in order to gain some objective distance. It turned out to be a huge undertaking.

I originally conceived of The Torch Singer as a single epic novel set in the 40s and 50s: the rise and fall of a B-singer who never quite manages to stay on top. But the story kept expanding as I went along, especially when I added Jonno's story - a tale of second generation Hollywood - until I realized I simply had too many stories and too much to say, and that a trilogy was needed to make the thing work.  

The character of Sonya Saint-Amant, my bad-girl heroine, is based in part on my mother (who came to California from England to reinvent herself), and on the singer/actress Dorothy Lamour, who was famously discovered in an elevator and happened to be the mother of my best friend. By the time I knew Dorothy Lamour in the mid-1950s, her career was mostly finished and my friend and I were required to play quietly in the house until noon, lest we wake her - at which point we would see her floating down the stairs in an old dressing gown, a cigarette in one hand and trouble etched on her unsmiling face. I wanted to capture that in my story: the split between the glamorous fantasy and the real life of being a star.

Jonno - Sonya's twelve year old son, the narrator of the tale - is based on another friend from a later period of my life: Brandon deWilde, the child actor who played the boy in the movie Shane and later starred in the TV sitcom, Jamie. Brandon and I were friends in New York until he died in a car crash in 1972, and I doubt he would recognize himself in the role I've given him. I've used his biography only as a starting point, filling in Jonno's character with a point of view that is decidedly my own.

As for the murder on the dark and stormy night, this also is based loosely on a true event, the great media frenzy of my childhood: April 4, 1958, when Lana Turner's 14 year old daughter, Cheryl Crane, stabbed her mother's lover to death, the gangster Johnny Stompanato, in a Beverly Hills house just a few blocks from where I lived. I knew Cheryl, so this hit me particularly hard - we had gone to the same school together, a school on a hilltop high in Bel Air from which there was a view of Catalina Island in the distance . . . a location I have appropriated for "Casa Esperanza", the home of Jonno's Uncle Max and Aunt Mina.

Except for these few true-life tidbits, which I have altered freely, everything else in The Torch Singer is a product only of my overheated imagination . . . and my desire to capture a world I have known, Hollywood at the tail end of the Golden Age.

About the Author:

ROBERT WESTBROOK grew up in the world of which he writes. The child of Hollywood parents in the Golden Age he brings the period alive with insight, humor, and an insider's knowledge of show business. He is the author of two critically-acclaimed mystery series, including "Ancient Enemy", nominated for a Shamus Award as the Best P.I. Novel of 2002, and "Intimate Lies", a memoir detailing the relationship between his mother, Hollywood Columnist Sheilah Graham and the author F. Scott Fitzgerald which was published by HarperCollins in 1995. His first novel, "The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart", was made into an MGM motion picture.
Much of Robert Westbrook's backlist is in the process of being reissued.
"An Overnight Sensation" is the first book in his epic "Torch Singer" trilogy. The second book, "An Almost Perfect Ending" is being released in September 2014.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Book Description Swan s Nest Canada, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Robert Westbrook s novel strips the gilt off the Hollywood Golden Age to reveal the seamier underside. The Torch Singer begins with an ending, a scene of murder and mayhem on St. Valentine s Night in 1956 Beverly Hills and unravels the many and various threads of the lives and careers that took them there. Time Out The Torch Singer is a sweeping historical saga that takes the reader from the horrors of Nazi-occupied Poland to the glittery excesses of Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s: the rise and fall of Sonya Saint-Amant, a singer who schemes her way to fame and glory breaking all the rules. Book One, An Overnight Sensation , charts the rise of Sonya from the age of 17 in 1940, a girl dreaming of being an understudy at the Krakow Opera when Nazis raid the theater. After witnessing the summary execution of her mother by German soldiers she escapes Poland and makes her way to London. Using guile and beauty, she finds passage to America in 1943 on the Mauretania , a dangerous North Atlantic crossing on a troop ship full of men. As the ship steams north into Arctic waters evading enemy submarines, Sonya almost wins at a high-stakes game of love.only to arrive in New York alone and desperate but determined to become a star. A masterpiece of storytelling. A book of constant intrigue which from the outset creates that delicious paradox of it being immediately clear that nothing is ever quite as it seems. Daily Mail Robert Westbrook is a born storyteller and a bit of a magician. Ally Sheedy The Torch Singer is an unforgettable journey through the shadowlands of fame. Seller Inventory # APC9781926499000

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Book Description Swan s Nest Canada, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Robert Westbrook s novel strips the gilt off the Hollywood Golden Age to reveal the seamier underside. The Torch Singer begins with an ending, a scene of murder and mayhem on St. Valentine s Night in 1956 Beverly Hills and unravels the many and various threads of the lives and careers that took them there. Time Out The Torch Singer is a sweeping historical saga that takes the reader from the horrors of Nazi-occupied Poland to the glittery excesses of Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s: the rise and fall of Sonya Saint-Amant, a singer who schemes her way to fame and glory breaking all the rules. Book One, An Overnight Sensation , charts the rise of Sonya from the age of 17 in 1940, a girl dreaming of being an understudy at the Krakow Opera when Nazis raid the theater. After witnessing the summary execution of her mother by German soldiers she escapes Poland and makes her way to London. Using guile and beauty, she finds passage to America in 1943 on the Mauretania , a dangerous North Atlantic crossing on a troop ship full of men. As the ship steams north into Arctic waters evading enemy submarines, Sonya almost wins at a high-stakes game of love.only to arrive in New York alone and desperate but determined to become a star. A masterpiece of storytelling. A book of constant intrigue which from the outset creates that delicious paradox of it being immediately clear that nothing is ever quite as it seems. Daily Mail Robert Westbrook is a born storyteller and a bit of a magician. Ally Sheedy The Torch Singer is an unforgettable journey through the shadowlands of fame. Seller Inventory # APC9781926499000

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Book Description Swan's Nest Canada. Paperback. Condition: New. 360 pages. Dimensions: 8.0in. x 5.2in. x 0.9in.Robert Westbrooks novel strips the gilt off the Hollywood Golden Age to reveal the seamier underside. The Torch Singer begins with an ending, a scene of murder and mayhem on St. Valentines Night in 1956 Beverly Hills and unravels the many and various threads of the lives and careers that took them there. Time Out The Torch Singer is a sweeping historical saga that takes the reader from the horrors of Nazi-occupied Poland to the glittery excesses of Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s: the rise and fall of Sonya Saint-Amant, a singer who schemes her way to fame and glory breaking all the rules. Book One, An Overnight Sensation, charts the rise of Sonya from the age of 17 in 1940, a girl dreaming of being an understudy at the Krakow Opera when Nazis raid the theater. After witnessing the summary execution of her mother by German soldiers she escapes Poland and makes her way to London. Using guile and beauty, she finds passage to America in 1943 on the Mauretania, a dangerous North Atlantic crossing on a troop ship full of men. As the ship steams north into Arctic waters evading enemy submarines, Sonya almost wins at a high-stakes game of love. . . only to arrive in New York alone and desperate but determined to become a star. This is a masterpiece of storytelling which skilfully relates the rise and demise of sultry B-Singer Sonya Saint-Amant in a murder-mystery that intertwines hard-bitten noir-fiction and a Hollywood memoir. The Torch Singer - An Overnight Sensation is a book of constant intrigue which creates that delicious paradox of it being immediately clear that nothing is ever quite as it seems. Daily Mail Robert Westbrook is a born storyteller and a bit of a magician. Ally Sheedy The Torch Singer is an unforgettable journey through the shadowlands of fame. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9781926499000

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