I guess he uses the middle initial for some books and not for others. I thought I had the books laid out in chronological order, but no, Bullet for a Star actually ends right as Murder on the Yellow Brick Road begins. Ah well, it isn't a big deal, although yesterday's selection gave me the impression there was a much bigger gap between the two. Peters really didn't show much ill-effect to being shot in the back, which happened in the second half of this book. And he'd already set up in a new place, after being kicked out of his apartment because some toughs came in a beat him up. But the toughs arrive in the first half of this book, and the whole story only takes about three days. So the pacing between stories is a little curious.
In Bullet for a Star, the star in question is Errol Flynn, who received an envelope with what were supposed to be compromising photos of him with an underage girl. The photos are fake, though Flynn admits he may have done such things in the past, which, um, OK. Didn't really need to know that. Peters is brought in to deliver the payoff, in exchange for the the photos and negatives because he isn't directly associated with the studio. He's goes to the swap, gets jumped by a third party, and wakes up to find his gun missing, and the blackmailer dead. Which puts him squarely in the sights of his asshole cop brother, though Kaminsky plays it a little less direct about that fact for awhile. Not sure why.
I still think some of the actors who appear are gratuitous. Flynn at one point asks a couple of his fellow actors to serve as muscle to look after Peters, which, why not simply get some actual security guys? I know most actors back then knew how to ride horses and shoot guns and such, but I'm still not sure I'd want to rely on guys who are prone to pulling punches to have my back.
I did not figure out who the killer was this time. So guessing the cool, beautiful woman did it isn't going to pay off every time. Darn.
"Two days, Phil. Give me two days, and I'll hand you the name and maybe the killer."
"You'll hand me the killer?" He actually laughed, but it didn't sound as if he were having fun. "You can't even hold down a job; you lost your client's money and your gun, and everybody's beat the shit out of you."
"We all have bad days," I said.