Thursday, March 7, 2024

Crimeline Hollywood


Comic Mystery / Thriller / Humor

Date Published: December 28, 2023

Publisher: Mindstir Media


Whoever thought an astrologer's life could be so dangerous? Especially when you're "Hollywood's Astrologer to the Stars." Yet he once crawled out on a 20-story beam to talk down a suicidal celebrity. And when he gave a Vegas casino owner a costly piece of advice, he found himself the target of a hitman.

Fortunately he escaped only to face another crisis: the kidnapping of Sparklynn James, his most famous client. After the Feds falter on the case, the family asks him to assist Rebecca Fairway, a publicity-seeking P.I. (a.k.a. "The Glamorous Gumshoe) to find her. Not exactly the A Team.

But a coded ransom message from Sparklynn herself points them in the right direction...leading them straight into a web of corporate evil.

Read an Excerpt below...

About the Author

Thomas Collins wrote his first book, The Adventures of Tom and Rom, at the age of ten. (Now out of print) As an adult he gained valuable knowledge of the inner workings of big business as corporate communications director for a Fortune 500 company. Crimeline Hollywood is his first mystery though not his last, especially since the hitman from Crimeline is still on the loose. Like his hero, Dash Harwood, he is an Aquarian who likes to think outside the box… once he cuts through all the packaging.

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Excerpt from "Crimeline Hollywood"

Chapter 1


Looking back, I suppose you could say I got to North Carolina by way of the Hollywood Freeway. Actually, it was all Nigel’s fault. He’s the one who told me to use the Alvarado entrance, which proved a perfect location to spy on cars entering this famous roadway.

Nigel was the GPS guide on my mother’s beloved Lincoln Town Car, and just for old times’ sake, I used him instead of my iPhone for guidance. But because of him, I nearly got my temporal and parietal lobes parted by a bullet. Muscle control and memory are governed by these regions, so it’s not something to take lightly.

My mother liked Nigel for his “refined” delivery. And, indeed, he seemed a prince of a fellow—charming, urbane, and of course, very proper. I imagined him ensconced in a large wingback, clad in a silk smoking jacket and ascot.

“Proceed seven miles to U.S. Highway 101,” he said as I eased into the flow of traffic. “Smashing idea, Nigel,” I said. “We’ll give it a go.” And just like that the die was cast and, my future was determined by this little Brit deep inside the dashboard .

The car had served my mom well for years, but now she was living in a retirement home, and I finally persuaded her to sell her beloved “Black Beauty” as she called it.

“You will be careful with it, won’t you?” she said.


“You know what I mean, son.”

Unfortunately, I did: my atrocious driving record as a teen. Before the age of nineteen, I’d managed to mangle, maul or completely total three cars, including a rental. But that was years ago. Today I was a responsible adult, a preferred risk according to my insurance company. I was perfectly capable of driving Black Beauty the twenty-six miles to a car auction where collectors would get the chance to bid on one of the largest cars in the Free World—the only one with a Rolls Royce-style grill.

So, there I was, tooling down the Hollywood Freeway, enjoying a pleasant fall morning, not particularly aware of the 4Runner that was lurking behind me since Alvarado. Suddenly there was a sharp, popping sound, or maybe a crack. About the same time, I noticed a funny little hole in the dashboard, perfectly round with a curl of smoke rising out of it.

Holy shit, someone was shooting at me!

Probably a crazy sniper or one of those homegrown terrorists I’m always reading about. I sped into the thickening traffic of the downtown area, hoping to get out of his range. After several miles I began to feel safe, but when I glanced at my side mirror, there it was again. Worse yet, I spotted a familiar face poking out of the passenger window and my blood froze. Carmine! That bullet wasn’t random. It was meant just for me.

Several months earlier I provided casino owner Milo Karp with a bad piece of astrological advice, and he apparently took it personally. I gave a thumbs-up on his newest property but not without considerable concern. For one thing, Milo was a Scorpio, and as I tried to explain to him, shit happens to Scorpios this time of year. It’s a period of volatility, thanks to a new moon plus some Mercury-Venus friction. But Milo is a skilled businessman with years of experience battling unions, contractors, sub-contractors, and agents. Me? I was just an astrologer.

Well, not just any astrologer. I was, after all, last month’s six across on People magazine’s crossword with the clue “Hollywood’s astrologer for the stars.” I had big name clients like Sparklynn James, one of the most talented performers of our generation, and whose career I helped to launch. There was also the hulking Rowdy Gold of Too Tough To Kill fame and TV star Quinella Cardwell, a surgically fortified beauty. Also Mister Pister, a respectable rapper, if there is such a thing.

I knew Milo because Vegas casinos bring in a lot of Hollywood talent to do shows and he eventually became one of my clients. He was difficult at times with a bad temper, but I never thought he would send someone to hunt me down on the freeway like a gazelle on the Serengeti Plains. But hunt me he did. Carmine was his strongman and the driver a young guy, an apprentice thug perhaps, and their mission seemed clear.

Death was riding on my rear bumper.

I wondered about the odds of an old parade float outrunning a nimble 4Runner? The SUV could corner on a dime. The Lincoln required big bills and made you wait for the change. In this kind of situation, it was little more than a rolling coffin. Icy terror shot through my veins.

Whap! A second bullet slammed through the car, catching the top of the passenger window. Another hole, perfectly round. I pressed hard on the accelerator and the 460-cubic-inch engine responded. The pride of Detroit wouldn’t go down without a fight. Constructed of real, honest-to-God metal and chrome, it was practically an armored panzer. At least I had that in my favor.

But the freeway, or “the 405” as locals called it, proved too confining. Ordinary streets would offer me more maneuverability, so I put my left blinker on (as if hit men really pay attention to that sort of thing). Then I swerved right, allowing me to shoot off one of the exits, completely confusing Nigel. But not Carmine. He kept behind me, tucked in between a Beemer and a Saab convertible, holding steady.


“Yeah, you do that, Nigel. Get us out of this mess!”

I hung a right at the end of the ramp, spotted some open road and let the big engine do its thing. I continued with a series of random turns with no idea where I was going.

“Left turn and continue one point five miles onto Whitmire.”

“Not now, Nigel,” I snapped.

Up ahead, a large delivery truck lumbered toward me in low gear. Carefully timing my speed, I skidded onto a side street. I’d seen Steve McQueen pull a similar move in Bullitt. The only problem was, when I did it, only about two-thirds of the Lincoln made it. The remaining third hopped the curb and took out a mailbox.

Nonetheless, the move allowed me to gain some distance from my pursuer. I took a hard left at the next crossing, this time throwing the car into a terrifying slide. Centrifugal force took control of the car until it hit a stubborn no-parking sign. The wheels continued to spin, shooting out gravel before finally catching and rocketing the car forward.

I didn’t seem to be in control of this metal beast. The beast was controlling me.

I zipped around the corner of the next street, again jumping the sidewalk and sending pedestrians scurrying for their lives. I whipped the car back and heard a loud snap as a light pole clipped the mirror on the passenger side, leaving an ugly tangle of wires.

Nigel, meanwhile, continued to spit out conflicting instructions: “Stay on Arcadia for one point three miles. Turn right on LaSalle. Recalculating.”

“Shut the hell up, Nigel!” I shouted.

“Turn left in one half mile onto Anzarro,” he said, totally ignoring me.

I veered onto a grimy sidewalk, pushing through a row of metal newspaper stands. Copies of free tabloids flew across my windshield like a flock of birds.

Still the 4Runner kept behind me.

Ahead I spotted something orange, a sawhorse with traffic cones next to it, blocking off the street ahead. Decision time. What would Steve McQueen have done? I gritted my teeth and ploughed through it in a blaze of construction orange.

So much for the Rolls Royce-style grill.

The SUV followed in my wake, flattening whatever was left. All I could do now was to snake through the inner city, hoping for some kind of miracle. Nigel, meanwhile, was strangely silent, perhaps from the violent contact with the barricade. From the corner of my eye, I noticed several alleyways. They were narrow, but just wide enough for one auto.

I picked one and turned into it. Carmine’s driver did the same. More gunshots and more panic. If a bullet hit a tire, I could careen out of control and crash. If one hit the gas tank, it would probably explode. And if it struck the back of my skull…well, that would explode too, and I would die in a Lincoln limo. Just like Kennedy.

A large intersection loomed ahead. The corner of Life and Death where Destiny crosses Fate. A stoplight hung there, and you can probably guess what color it was. A city bus lumbered toward the intersection, giving me one last, insane chance. I jammed hard on the gas pedal and the giant engine responded with every horse still available. I flew across the intersection amidst a chorus of honks, clearing the bus by inches.

Then, vehicular chaos.

In my rearview mirror, I watched the bus sideswipe the SUV and hit the brakes, setting off a string of other collisions. All of this seemed to take place in a second. Later I learned the bus catapulted the SUV through the front window of a muffler shop. The cars behind it couldn’t brake in time and piled one by one into each other, accordion style.

Meanwhile I kept driving straight ahead. All I wanted to do was put as much real estate as possible between the Lincoln and the crash site. The terrible cracking sound kept reverberating through my head along with the horrifying crunch of metal meeting metal.

After traveling several miles through normal traffic, I began to feel a little safer. That’s not to say all the panic was gone. So far this morning I managed to outrun a pair of hit men, dodge a half dozen bullets, race through some of meanest streets of L.A. and barely escape death. Yet at some point I would face the most daunting challenge of all.

Explaining to Mom what I’d done to her Black Beauty

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