Interrogation—James W. Ziskin

Who: James W. Ziskin

What: Author of the Edgar-, Anthony-, Barry-, and Lefty-nominated Ellie Stone Mysteries. A linguist by training, he studied Romance Languages and Literature at the university of Pennsylvania. He then spent sixteen years in the Hollywood post production industry, running large international operations in subtitling and visual effects. He speaks Italian and French. His latest book, CAST THE FIRST STONE, launched on June 6.

Where: Seattle

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

Your latest novel, CAST THE FIRST STONE, is the fifth Ellie Stone Mystery. What does Ellie get up to this time around?

Thanks for having me, Steve. I’m a big fan of your books, stories, and novellas. And hats.

CAST THE FIRST STONE gets Ellie out of the fading mill town of New Holland, NY, and drops her in Hollywood. It’s February 1962, in the midst of heavy rains in Los Angeles. A New Holland boy has scored the second lead in a real Hollywood beach movie, so Ellie is dispatched to profile the hometown hero who’s done good. It’s the chance of a lifetime for Ellie, until she arrives and finds the actor, Tony Eberle, AWOL on the first day of shooting. He’s promptly fired from the picture, and the next day the producer is found dead in a ravine in the Hollywood Hills. Ellie realizes that her own tenuous career hangs in the balance if she comes home empty-handed, so she sets out to find the missing actor. She’s drawn into the shadowy world of Hollywood’s closeted gay actors, who are desperate to keep their secrets hidden. Hilarity ensues.

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