#BookReview: Hollywood Hustle by Jon Lindstrom

Hollywood Hubris. The evocative and darkly hilarious tale of a kidnapping of a Hollywood star’s daughter is well paced and quite descriptive, though it does evoke more of the 70s/ 80s vibes than more modern times – despite clearly being set in said more modern times. So perhaps it feels a touch anachronistic at times as well, but it actually somehow manages to work?

No, the biggest problem here wasn’t the characterizations or the action or the (dark) comedy, it was the guns – and specifically the typical Hollywood hubris of not knowing basically anything about them. No, civilians do not have “automatic” pistols – those things are hard to get for even criminals, and generally extend a jail term much longer than they’re actually worth as a tool. Instead, every time Lindstrom says “automatic”, he *should* be saying “semi-automatic” or even simply “pistol”, if he is seeking to distinguish it from a revolver (which he also uses in this text). (Both revolvers and non-revolving pistols are semi-automatic, meaning one bullet fires per trigger squeeze vs automatic meaning bullets keep firing as long as the trigger is held down, for those reading this review who may be under the same lack of basic gun knowledge as Lindstrom and his editors.) Further, several times when someone is shot – both from a shotgun (which does in fact pack more of a punch, as depending on the load it can send up to 2-3 .45 caliber sized pellets flying at the same speeds that a pistol sends a single .45 bullet flying at) and a pistol – the body is described as flying backwards, as Hollywood tends to do. However, this is one that anyone who has watched Mythbusters knows is incorrect, as they specifically tested this exact myth and showed that it does not actually happen. And that is *without* even having any actual gun knowledge, as it is basic physics! (F= mA -> Force = mass x Acceleration, but the target also has standing inertia that the force must be powerful enough to overcome to achieve said result… and bullets that civilians might fire – yes, even the vaunted .50 BMG round – simply don’t have that kind of mass and acceleration. And by the time you get up to rounds that *do* have that kind of force… it tends to have a *far*… messier… impact than simply causing someone to fly backwards off their feet for a few feet.) A final note related yet not to these points about guns is that another author I know is actually a medical investigator in Saint Augustine, FL, and per his commentary over the years, the “tangy coppery” smell of blood that so many fiction authors use – including Lindstrom here? Also fictional. It is for all of these blatant inaccuracies – yes, even in fiction, as they actively perpetuate misinformation that could harm real people – that the star was deducted.

Still, for those who simply want an almost “Expendables” type action/ thriller with a cast of “seasoned” Hollywood dwellers trying to resolve a kidnapping of a family member of one of their own on their own… this really is quite a strong tale in that particular vein, and as long as you approach it as just that type of Hollywood action movie and check your brains at the door, you’ll find a quite strong and enjoyable tale.


This review of Hollywood Hustle by Jon Lindstrom was originally written on January 15, 2024.