Ronnie Deal, a Hollywood movie producer on the fast-track at Velocity Pictures, is young, beautiful and smart. Pizza deliveryman Ellis Langford is a 30-something ex-convict on parole. What do Ronnie and Ellis have in common? They both have checkered pasts, a steely determination to succeed in Hollywood and ruthless homicidal psychopaths who would like to see them dead. These intriguing characters are at the center of Ray Shannon's stylish and bold new suspense novel, Man Eater. Man Eater begins one fateful evening at the Tiki Shack bar. Ronnie is having a bad day at work, and it gets worse when she crosses swords with street thug Neon Polk. Ronnie impulsively steps in to help a young women being beaten by Polk, who is the ultimate bad guy and the worst enemy she could have. Ronnie clobbers Polk with a beer bottle and makes her escape. For a man like Neon Polk, losing a physical altercation to a man is one thing, but losing to a woman is intolerable. With his fearsome street reputation to uphold, he seeks revenge.

Enter Ellis, who has some deadly enemies of his own. He has spent the last eight years in prison, putting an end to his dream of retiring young and rich. Naturally, he put his time in prison to good use by writing novels and screenplays. Now, leading the constricting life of a pizza-delivering parolee, Ellis finds that Tinseltown is not the promised land for an ex-con. Ellis and Ronnie, attempting to dodge their pasts, form a shaky alliance in an attempt to stay alive and pursue their elusive dreams.

The violent side of Hollywood makes it the perfect backdrop for the vivid and eccentric characters that populate Man Eater. These power brokers, script-sellers, gangsters and drug dealers form a combustible combination fueled by raging egos, greed, revenge and jealousy.

Ray Shannon, described by the publisher as a pseudonym for an award-winning California author, tells a fast-paced and riveting tale that will keep the reader's pulse racing. The author's artful depiction of Hollywood and the movie business is a treat. His talent for mixing quirky characters, bone-jarring violence and sly humor will no doubt invite comparisons to some of Hollywood's best big-screen adventures. C.

L. Ross reads, writes and reviews in Pismo Beach, California

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