Books: ’99 Miles from LA’ and ‘Lunch With Lizabeth’

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99 Miles From L.A.
by P. David Ebersole

The haunting lyrics of the song by the same title set the mood
for this compelling noir mystery-thriller by local author
P. David Ebersole. Palm Springs — 99 miles from L.A. — is, of course, where the story’s destiny plays out, with equal parts hope and despair. The novel’s emotional roller coaster ride involves Frank, a singer who pays the bills by working as a music professor. He embarks on an affair with Shelley, unhappily married to a man who has made his fortune skimming the cash from his marijuana business. When Shelley comes up with a scheme to steal the cash, she enlists Frank’s help and that of Ramon, her very friendly — and very handsome — local bartender. Sparks fly between Ramon and Frank, but the real triangle of the story is made of lust, loyalty, and betrayal. Full of unexpected twists and turns, the fast-paced, bittersweet noir poses the classic question: How well do we ever really know another person?

Lunch With Lizabeth by Todd Hughes

In one of the most heartfelt memoirs you’ll ever read, local author Todd Hughes shares the story of his 20-year friendship with Lizabeth Scott, Hollywood’s queen of film noir. Although her reign was not long — from the 1940s to the 1950s — she made 21 films in which her stunning beauty and husky voice are unforgettable. By the time Todd finally met her in 1997, over a memorable lunch at Musso & Frank in Hollywood, the Golden Age of Hollywood was in the past, and so was her fame. But the two formed a friendship and bond that forever changed his life, and their growing devotion to each other allowed them to express their affection even when they found themselves at odds over politics, art, or rumors from her past. The nostalgic glimpses of Lizabeth’s personal letters to Todd remind us of an elegant, long-gone era. Todd’s love, admiration, and respect for Lizabeth come through in every word of every page of this lovely, touching memoir.

—Juanita Stein

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