Loser Deals

Published by Donald I. Fine, 1995

Loser Deals Peter Viertel

[Below: From the book]

"Loser Deals is an urbane, sophisticated novel in the literary tradition of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, by the author of White Hunter, Black Heart.

Alternating between the venues of Hollywood in its golden age and present-day Spain, Loser Deals chronicles the life of Gatsybyesque Robert Masters, a forcibly retired movie actor (owing to an indisretion with an all-powerful mogul's ladyfriend). Viertel creates a tragicomic landscape, weaving in the often tempestuous relationships of Masters with a retinue of compelling characters, including: his married but restless daughter, Susan; his loyal but too-wise lover, Carmen; and the haughty Lady Pamela and her rogue husband, Sir Cecil Collins.

Rich in detail, moving and revelatory, Loser Deals strengthens Peter Viertel's reputation as one of the greatest stroytellers of our time."


By Keith Dixon for the New York Times, May 14, 1995.

"You can do anything you want in life," says Robert Masters, the protagonist of Peter Viertel's novel, "but you have to pay the bill before you're through." Masters understands payback; many years earlier, a powerful Hollywood executive banished him from the acting world for having an affair with the executive's lady friend. "Loser Deals" tells the story of this has-been actor's forced retirement on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, a life that becomes complicated when he is unwillingly drawn into a dangerous investigation surrounding the divorce of another expatriate. Mr. Viertel skillfully handles the story's tension. He never weighs his hero down with excess sentimentality; instead, Masters tells his tale with wistful humor and a nicely understated world-weariness.

From Booklist:

"His home may be in Spain, but Peter Viertel is rooted in Hollywood. His experience as a screenwriter, most notably for the screenplays The African Queen and White Hunter, Black Heart, contributes to this engaging story. Loser Deals revisits the detective fiction genre of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler and revives the hard-boiled language style of Ernest Hemingway. And if that's not enough, Viertel deftly interweaves a retired actor's life in Spain with the tragic marriage of a wealthy English couple and flashbacks of life in Hollywood's bygone eras. Robert Masters tries to be objective as his daughter explains her reasons for leaving her husband while he refuses to spy for that same son-in-law's detective agency. But Masters is drawn by a robbery on the golf course, his daughter's request for a loan, and perhaps simple familial guilt into marital turmoil and dangerous mishaps. He can't help but reminisce on loves lost, regret failed marriages, and (unsuccessfully) retreat from new entanglements. Viertel's story, with its humor and tragedy, seems comfortably familiar, like a classic movie brought back to the big screen. Janet St. John Ingram From the golden age of Hollywood to present-day Spain, a richly detailed, tragi-comic novel chronicles the life of a retired movie actor and his tempestuous relationships."

Thomas Kuhnke - Literary Representation

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