A great tale about gangsters, love, and achievement
July 13, 2018 on Amazon | 5.0 out of 5 stars
By Diane Robinson
“The goal,” young Charles Czerny scribbled in pencil, “was to become someone else.”—The opening line of Hollywood via Orchard Street instantly sets the pace of this story about a young man’s ambitions to leave the lackluster life of Orchard Street, to do something more with his life than to sell newspapers on the street.
Charles Czerny is a meek young man, a grade-seven dropout who can memorize poetry. He needs to create a persona that is tougher and bolder, a persona that will get him out of the depressing neighborhood he lives in. Hence, Bulldog is born.
Bulldog creates a different life for himself by inadvertently hooking up with the mob. The mob life connects him with important people who help shape Bulldog into a respected newspaper writer of mob news that eventually leads to his connections writing for Hollywood. The mob life, also, connects him to the most important woman in his life, Miss Shantell Vox—the ex moll of the New York mob boss, the woman he saves and the woman he falls in love with.
The characters of this story are so captivating and fully rounded out as the story progresses that the reader can’t help but to become a part of their lives. The writing is of the highest caliber. This is a gangster story, a love story, and a story of achievement with some humor thrown in for good measure. You won’t want to put this book down. Highly recommended!
Excellent read, strongly recommend
September 3, 2018 on Amazon | 4.0 out of 5 stars
By Nikki Wolters
The author did a fantastic job on this book, the writing was of a high literary quality which is one of the reasons I really enjoyed reading this book, right from the first page the pace of the book was steadily built and the pace and tempo increased as it went on, it got to a point I was so hooked I couldn’t stop till I finished reading it. An all round complete and interesting book filled with lots of lessons to be learnt which I strongly recommend and I’ll proudly give four out of five stars.
About the book -Deciding that the hopelessness he sees around him on New York’s squalid Lower East Side during the Great Depression isn’t for him, a young man invents an alter ego with the chutzpah he hopes will make a name for himself. In the process he accidentally ignites a war between the Irish mob and a Chinese tong, learns to drink and finds love for the first time. Will he and his alter ego ever reunite? They will have to if he doesn’t want to lose the love of a beautiful Broadway actress.
Whenever I read a good book there is nothing I love more than passing it on to others to read and enjoy, I’m not stingy lol. If you’re contemplating getting this book, go ahead it’s a really good book which is filled with lots of lessons to be learnt.
Coming of age story during the Great Depression
September 8, 2018 on Amazon | 4.0 out of 5 stars
By JA Armstrong
During the great depression, a young man named Charles Czerny decides to reinvent himself as someone who is tougher and would get him out of his dead-end job as a newspaper delivery boy. Even though most people would be immensely grateful to have a job in those times, Charles is a dreamer, he wants to be someone, so he will contort himself as he says to lift himself out of the poverty he lives in. This decision leads him into the arms of the Mob and as “Bulldog”, he starts working for them. On the side he still tries to keep in touch with the newspapers, selling tidbits and little pieces under his new moniker about celebrities he spots around town and he slowly starts making a name for himself.
This was a mashup of the classic mob story, a coming of age story and a story about how one person changed his life forever by digging in deep, finding some tenacity and grit and pushed on despite several setbacks. A very good story, written in an easy to understand style. The author gave us enough description to help us feel connected to the story but he never overdid it so you felt like you were drowning in the description of a scene.
Ambition and Challenges!
September 7, 2018 on Amazon | 3.0 out of 5 stars
The story is a journey of a young man who has a goal to be someone else, who is stronger with hope to find a way to move ahead. In his journey he is able to transform himself, join mobs life, connects with Hollywood and falls in love. The plot that has a variety of characters from the newspaper business, Hollywood, gangster that connects well and overall based on an ambitious man who wants to go after his goal regardless of all challenges and obstacles.
Well written and extremely gripping
September 10, 2018 on Amazon | 4.0 out of 5 stars
By Charlie Latham
Gripping, exciting and unpredictable, I really enjoyed this book, the storylines great, all about a guy who makes an alter ego for himself and then starts living that life in order to achieve great things in a difficult time.
The character development is done brilliantly and the way that the two versions of the same self are intertwined is very clever.
There’s loads of mobs and gangsters and stuff in it which I always find interesting and exciting.
It made me question how we construct our own personas of who we are, what we represent and what we strive for. It reminded me that we our fluid, changing and our identity is not set in stone but can be fluid.
Overall a pretty good read.
The best version of yourself is probably not enough to face the depression of your time
September 12, 2018 on Amazon | 4.0 out of 5 stars
By Julius Z
There are so many hidden stories like this one scattered around all known ages of this world, who could tell this didn’t happen in reality? There is such an exquisite quality provided here that gives me a mix of emotions while reading, and that’s not an easy feat by any means.
The best version of yourself is probably not enough to face the depression of your time, but for Charles that’s just a mere obstacle to overcome, and when he succeeds he will overcome any sorrow in his life, but this new alter ego he will create, the world will not allow him to thrive.
The story and characters captivate you from the very beginning and the setting is exactly what you expect from that period of time, a story about the many lessons life taught you, there is no achieve in life, without consequences, if you face them, the outcome could be fatal, if you ignore them, it’s even worse.
Great depression creates life changing opportunity
September 12, 2018 on Amazon | 4.0 out of 5 stars
By Jimmy ray
Hollywood via orchard street is a well written story about the great depression era and a man who takes the opportunity to create himself in a whole new light. He is no longer a timid shy shadow. The new ego makes him desirable, tough, and strong. Of course he may have started a mob war in the process of his newly found courage. The characters are well developed and the descriptions of the time and era make you feel like you are right there in the great depression new York city. This is a grand journey that I would recommend to everyone to read. I enjoyed the story and the distraction from the everyday rat race. A must read for the avid fans of the historical adventures.
Great Characters and Story
Sept. 24, 2018 on Amazon | 4 out of 5 stars
Hollywood via Orchard Street by Wayne Clark is such a great story about one guy named Charles, and the challenges he faces during the Great Depression. This is a well thought out story, and Charles is an interesting character as we get to know him first as a young kid and then into adulthood. He aspires to be a writer, but leaving school in the 7th grade may not bode well for him. Instead, he has taught himself things he needs to know, not the least of which is how to survive. He ends up supporting his Mom when his “Uncle” dies suddenly, and soon, Charles’ life begins to radically change. With his own truck, and delivering newspapers, he suddenly has his own business. Little does he know how his life will start to evolve with the real possibility of danger. This was a well written book with great attention to period detail that made you feel you were part of the story. A simple tone, good plot, with fascinating and real characters make this book an all around winner. Highly recommend.
‘The Depression was forcing people without jobs to take to the streets to sell what little they owned.’
September 25, 2018 on Amazon | 5 out of 5 stars
By Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Top 100 Reviewer
Canadian author Wayne Clark has been around – as a journalist, a reporter, and editor, a freelance writer and translator, a copywriter, and an astute observer of life in all its permutations. He travels (all over Canada, across the pond to Germany and Holland, and down in the third American level of Mexico), he sees, probably fantasizes a lot. Stir that pot and out comes a novelist who takes risks and makes them pan out for him. he & She was his first published complete novel – a taste of what he can create – and with THAT WOMAN we were treated with an adventurous ride. Now with HOLLYWOOD VIA ORCHARD STREET Wayne proves that he can detail cultural gaps and barriers and introduce a fine romance into the mix.
This book begins with the fine cover art by Caitlin Cox – a bedraggled typewriter image and Wayne once again suggests without an overture, choosing instead a brief prelude of the sensitivity of the story to come simply jumps right into the action –‘ “THE goal,” young Charles Czerny scribbled in pencil, “was to become someone else. I am nothing,” he wrote. “i must contort myself.” He had once seen the word “contortionist” on a circus poster and looked it up. As euphoria invaded, he changed the “i” to a capital “I”. “Nobody I know is anybody. And I mean anybody, up and down Orchard Street, and everywhere else.” Wielding with his new verb, he continued: “They need to learn about contorting themselves, or they’ll always be kind of sad in life. They would probably like to tell someone that they’re always kind of sad, but they don’t have the words to say it, so to speak. But I do. For example, ergo… I learned that word in school. What I want to say is, ‘Ergo, you must contort your life if you want to die reasonably satisfied.’ You can’t ask for it all, can you. You have to send your mind up in a balloon and take a look around at the possibilities. When you see one that twinkles like a penny firecracker, adopt it. Say, ‘That’s me 10 years from now or whatever.’ Rewrite your life. I mean your future. You are what you are right now, you are what your whiney aunt says you are, but tomorrow, and all the tomorrows to come, well, that’s up to you. Make up a story, then live it. He was pleased with his thoughts. There were a lot of them there. Those were the kind of thoughts he was sure writers have. The next day he did not pick up his pencil. The new centerpiece of the salon that had always doubled as his bedroom on Orchard Street was, as of that morning, the most magical thing he’d ever possessed, an Underwood typewriter, an Underwood Model 2, which he had found hours before in the rubble of a fire on Mangin Street, above Delancey, near the river.’
And as is his apparent style he outlines his story in a well-scripted synopsis; ‘Deciding that the hopelessness he sees around him on New York’s squalid Lower East Side during the Great Depression isn’t for him, a young man invents an alter ego with the chutzpah he hopes will make a name for himself. In the process he accidentally ignites a war between the Irish mob and a Chinese tong, learns to drink and finds love for the first time. Will he and his alter ego ever reunite? They will have to if he doesn’t want to lose the love of a beautiful Broadway actress.
Clark succeeds in this territory better than other authors in this genre because of the style with which he writes. He invites us into dark places but keep the focus on the frailty and durability of our humanity. There is much to be learned here and in the quality of fine prose and drama. Wayne Clark offers another solid novel.
A great story with timeless characters
On Oct. 8, 2018 on Amazon | 5.0 out of 5 stars
Hollywood via Orchard Street is the story of a young man named Charles who lived in New York’s Lower East Side during the Great Depression. Hoping to get out of the depressing neighborhood, he creates a persona that is braver and bolder than he feels he is. Charles’s dream starts to become a reality when he finds a typewriter in the ruins of a fire. He starts writing stories for newspapers. It didn’t matter that the country was in a deep depression, or that his mother made him leave school after seventh grade to support her. Acting as his alter ego, named Bulldog, he is intent on getting out of a life of poverty without a future. Along the way, he inadvertently gets involved with the mob. Thus, begins a great story with timeless characters.
Charles gets involved far more deeply than he wants to when he finds himself drawn into a plot to murder a theater critic, who gave a bad review of a musical that starred the mob boss’s girlfriend, herself a prisoner. Bulldog rescues her and falls in love with her as they hide from the gangster. While laying low, Bulldog’s reputation as a reporter grows day by day as he feeds inside information to a newspaper about the mobster and the apparent kidnapping of a Broadway beauty. Bulldog manages to recruit a rival gang, a Chinese tong, to intercede on their behalf.
This is a story told with humor. The characters are highly credible and you feel as if you are in that era with them.
In the beginning, I thought Charles was full of himself, lazy. But as I read on, I understood him more and the challenge he had to overcome despite the obstacles he faced. In the end, I absolutely loved the book.
My favorite character was Mi Ling, a Chinese girl, the daughter of the boss of the Chinese tong. She was the one who helped Bulldog get protection for the actress from her father’s organization. She is young, clever, determined, hardworking and very intelligent. One of my favorite parts of the book was Charles succeeding against all odds and discovering that the head of the feared Chinese tong was not a heartless person. He was a survivor in a foreign land, a man of honor and a caring father in his own way.
I highly recommended this book. I couldn’t put it down. This book is for anyone who loves well-written historical novels, ones that are funny and full of gangsters and people who triumph against all odds.
American literature at its finest
On October 10, 2018 | 5.0 out of 5 stars
By Rev. Stephen R. Wilson
“Hollywood via Orchard Street” by Wayne Clark is an impressive book. The setting Clark tells his story is rich beyond the historicity of the time. He makes you believe that his story really happened, that his characters were really there. His cast is that realistic and the dialogue that natural.
And the entire book is written in a more classical manner than modern fiction. It has the significance of Steinbeck or Hemingway behind it. I’m not a literary critic, but reading this book reminds of what I’ve read from those other great American authors.
But besides the skilled writing and deep characters, I enjoyed reading about the time in which the story takes place. You can read about the history, but it doesn’t really come alive until you read it in the context of a story and start to imagine how people really lived.
If you’re a fan of American literature or are interested in the Great Depression, I recommend reading this book. It’s an entertaining tale you won’t soon forget.
On October 15, 2018 on Amazon | 4.0 out of 5 stars
Charles Czerny wants to make a name for himself; though his schooling didn’t extend beyond the seventh grade, he dreams of becoming a writer that people will want to read. Hollywood via Orchard Street is full of quirks and humor. Charles is a memorable protagonist who often silently counts (the number varies dependent on the situation) before answering another person’s question; he also has an interesting habit of accumulating “uncles.” The novel feels a little Dickensian in spirit with the variety of characters who come and go. There’s also the Depression-era squalor that Charles is living in, which is reminiscent of the slums that so many of Dickens’ protagonists endured. A fun read that just keeps trucking along.
A Brilliant Story
By Amy Koller
On January 9, 2019 on Amazon | 5.0 out of 5 stars
“Hollywood via Orchard Street” is an absolutely excellent novel that will transport you to the era of the Great Depression to view life through the eyes of a man who has undoubtedly bitten off way more than he could chew. This book is incredibly well-written and thought-out, even the dialog is so spot-on that you often forget that the book wasn’t actually written in the era that is takes place. It is a smart, fast paced story that will captivate your imagination and not allow you the opportunity to put it down. When you are ready to take an incredible journey into the past, be sure to reach for this tale. You will not regret doing so!
Very Intriguing Story
On January 11, 2019 | 5.0 out of 5 stars
By Katherine Saer
The cover is so intriguing; it looks like a typewriter coming out of the ashes. The book opens with wonderful advice, as Charles, the main character, is typing out his secrets to life. He treasured this typewriter that he found because it reminded him of his parents. An aspiring writer with no formal training, he has set his heart and soul to the practice of writing. He will make it some day, someway, somehow. Growing up in a poor neighborhood in New York City, where no one cared about such things, made him stick out. I find this story very fascinating; I can’t wait to learn where it leads.
Reminds me of Great American Literature
On January 17, 2019 | 4.0 out of 5 stars
By Christa T.
These days, it is hard to find a book that really captures the essence of pure American Literature, but this book, “Hollywood via Orchard Street,” certainly does it. The main character of the book, Charles Czerny, is living his life during the Great Depression. He creates an alter ego to help raise his self esteem, and yes, he really wants to be somebody on the crowded streets of New York.
Overall this was a good book, and one that I would recommend to anyone who likes this type of novel.
Hollywood via Orchard Street
By Celeste L
On January 17, 2019 | 3 out of 5 stars
Hollywood via Orchard Street by Wayne Clark was a familiar-feeling book yet an unfamiliar story, if that makes sense. In some ways, I felt like this story was so similar to many other stories I have read, but in other ways, I felt it was unique or at least had some unique aspects. This book takes place during the Great Depression, and perhaps it was the topic of the book, but I did feel the story was a little dull. It lacked energy and that special “pizazz” type feeling many books have. Still, I did find the concept of the story itself intriguing, and I see a lot of potential to spice up the story and make it more imaginative and creative. There are some interesting dynamics among the characters in here, but again, it is something I would like to see further developed and given extra attention and detail to.
January 20, 2019 on Amazon | 4.0 out of 5 stars
By Jerry Olasakinju
It is often believed that the writer’s life is a miserly one. At least, the young protagonist of Wayne Clark’s novel, Hollywood Via Orchid Street, thinks it is true. But he has got a way to drive such a discomforting thought from his mind: By practicing “contortionism”. According to Charles Czerny, one must contort the reality in his/her mind and change it to what he/she desires—it is pretty much like converting negative thoughts into positive ones.
Armed with a typewriter that is salvaged from a burning house, it is with this attitude and passion to change his life that Charles Czerny finds his way to Hollywood. It has never been a bed of roses for him as he raises money by delivering papers to survive while his art develops.
I like the protagonist’s infectious optimism, and it is a wake-up call for anyone that desires to be successful.
More Coming of Age than Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
January 20, 2019 on Amazon | 4.0 out of 5 stars
By Amanda Adams
Hollywood Via Orchard Street in a Depression Era novel that follows Charles Czerny from boyhood. We watch Charles, an aspiring writer, reinvent himself rather dramatically in his quest for a different life for himself. All does not go smoothly though as he finds himself intertwined with mob bosses and gangsters along the way. Wayne Clark masterfully creates the scenes in a way that pulls the reader in with realistic dialogue littered with appropriate lingo and artfully describing each setting. The characters, especially Charley Czerny, are impossible to forget and give us all someone to root for.
I found Hollywood Via Orchard Street listed under several genres; Historical Fiction, Organized Crime, Coming of Age, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, and Literature. I would not recommend this to someone looking for Mystery, Thriller, or Suspense because while those things might be happening in the background by way of connection to Organized Crime, the main vein of the novel is not a mystery, a thriller, nor suspenseful.
An interesting book set during the Depression
January 21, 2019 on Amazon | 4.0 out of 5 stars
The historical fiction book Hollywood via Orchard Street by Wayne Clark is set in Depression era New York City and has a classic feel to it, like something from the golden age of movies. Charles Czerny, our hero, doesn’t care for the hopelessness of the Great Depression. A paper boy initially, he feels he is nothing, in fact such a nothing that the I he is uses is lower case (“i”). So Charles invents an alter ego to become someone else, someone more important. He gets hold of an Underwood typewriter (an Underwood Model 2 he specifies) and fancies himself a writer. Getting mixed up with Irish and Chinese gangs, Charles learns of some breaking stories, which helps him land some scoops and a start into being a writer for real. An interesting read.
A recommended read…
January 22, 2019 on Amazon | 4.0 out of 5 stars
By Winston J. Phillips
Charles Czerny is living through the Great Depression. In that environment, he determines he would become someone other than “I am nothing”. Charles seemed to have two inner strengths- he usually did a mental count before responding to conversation; secondly, he always believed that he could write. His read a lot, memorializing and emulating the works of “19-century guys from England.” To meet his goal, Charles created an alter ego, Bulldog (the writer). Later, he would accept another pleasant personality named Charlie (the beloved). His writing skills were honed on an Underwood typewriter which he had previously found in the rubble of a fire.
He began selling newspapers, but he always regarded it as temporary to becoming a writer of “bulldog”- (late evening) editions of the newspapers. He learned about the business, and two people – Gus who delivered newspapers to the boys, and his neighbor, Mrs. Schwartzmeier were always willing to hear or advise him. He progressed to delivery, driving (his stepfather’s) truck. He found many items to write about.
He meets Thugsy, a fixer for an Irish gang, and gains insight into how the mob and the Union handled competing newspaper management or distribution to their benefit. Bulldog has a ruthless streak, held more or less held in check by Charles. The crux of the story is Charles’ involvement with the mob, and how he uses his writing skills to his benefit. He goes off script on his Irish mob boss, hiding the latter’s ‘girlfriend’ (Shantelle), and seeking the protection of a Chinese boss for the girl, himself, and Thugsy. The girl is the star of a Broadway play that was faltering. The Chinese boss takes over many of the activities of the Irish boss, including the play. Bulldog uses his writing to promote the Chinese boss, and making him a force in the Broadway and in the movie business. Bulldog flourishes with his writing which he uses to praise and uplift the Broadway show and star; his Chinese boss; and himself.
I found the story (including the results) quite engaging. Suffice it here to say that subtle and not so subtle actions take the show to dizzying heights, with Bulldog credited with being a publicist for the show and a PR for the star. He seemed to do everything right in satisfying the whims and requirements of his Chinese boss, who sees him as an asset. His determination to be somebody pays off – with his writing – he is a respected reporter, ‘carried’ with a script to Hollywood and a movie, and being well paid. And with the approval of his boss, he marries Shantelle.
The book is very well written and easy to read. The characters are for the most part, very likeable The book plays with readers’ emotions in several ways in the actions of all the characters – Charles’ progress; the machinations of the gang bosses and their minions; the sadness about Charlie’s mother and Mrs. Schwatzmeier; the advice and interest of Gus and Thugsy; the feel of the experience of the Great Depression; the exuberance of Mi Ling, the daughter of the Chinese mob boss, and her steadiness in supporting Bulldog; and others. These will keep you tied to the book, and to Charlie’s progress towards his goal.
Charles’ biggest ‘mob problem’ seems to be the Irish boss’ search for him and Shantelle, but they were well protected. I was glad that he did not otherwise have more difficulties, e.g., framed by a jealous colleague, or challenges to his loyalty. Charles reminded of the mob lawyer (in mob movies) who is always respected and in good stead as long as he gets his job done…good publicity; good negotiation skills, and good money for the boss. I embraced Charles’ determination to be somebody, and recognized early that he had the tools to do so.
Great historical fiction
January 23, 2019 on Amazon | 5.0 out of 5 stars
This is a good historical novel. Author Wayne Clark does a great job at setting the scene. This novel, set during the Great Depression, is beautifully written to give the reader a full sensory experience and gives an accurate portrayal of New York City during that time. Charles, the main character, can seemingly talk his way out anything, and it’s a fun time to see him on his way towards his dreams.
Feb. 4, 2019 on Amazon | 5.0 out of 5 stars
Follow the story of a young writer who ends up getting entangled with the wrong crowd. Depression era New York city is full of drama and violence, especially when the mob started to get involved.
Follow a young man as he tries to survive the rough and tough lifestyle of NYC. Creating an alter ego with the chutzpah will change his life -for better or for worse. As he tries to establish a name for himself in the dog eat dog world -he starts a war between two of the biggest crime families of the time.
The author did an amazing job really capturing the atmosphere of the day.
The perspective made you feel as though you were right there. It is also a more original story that won’t make you feel like you are reading the same thing over and over again. It was this amazing writing an attention to detail that earned this review 5 stars in my eyes.