Capsule Profile: ROBERT S.
IN THE KEY OF DEATH, WHERE THE LIES BEGIN, ASK A DEAD MAN,
HOT PAINT, THE
Robert S. Levinson is the best-selling author of the
stand-alone novels "Where the Lies Begin" and "Ask a Dead Man," as well as the
Neil Gulliver and Stevie Marriner series of mystery-thriller novels, which to
date comprises "The Elvis and Marilyn Affair," "The James Dean Affair, "The John
Lennon Affair," and "Hot Paint (The Andy Warhol Affair)."
His latest stand-alone, "In the Key of Death," was
published in April 2008.
The ugly underbelly of the record industry
is exposed in this behind-the-scenes, below-the-belt account of deceit,
treachery, revenge and retribution that pits ex-LAPD detective Josh Wainwright
against Clyde ("Mr. Magic") Davenport, the rich, eccentric, legendary relic of
the Golden Age of Rock-and-Roll Wainwright blames for the murder of his wife,
international singing idol Katie Sunshine, and at least ten other recording
artists who quit Davenport after he turned them into superstars.
The body count multiplies as Josh and his
partner in International Celebrity Services, Keshawna Keyes, risk their lives
tracking suspects on a dangerous, ever-twisting trail that leads to Nashville
and an unpredictable turn of events before Josh's search for the answer he
prayed for results in an answer he least expected about the death of his beloved
Levinson was an Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
Readers Award choice three consecutive years. His short stories, to date, have
been selected for inclusion in "year's best" anthologies four consecutive years,
this year as the cover title piece (from Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
in �A Prisoner of Memory and 24 of the Year�s Finest Crime and Mystery Stories.�
A new short story, "And the Winner is�" is included in the
anthology "Hollywood and Crime: Original Crime Stories Set During the History of
Hollywood," a September 2007 release.
Earlier Levinson short stories appear in "The Deadly Bride
and 21 of the Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories (Carroll & Graf);" "The
Adventure of the Missing Detective and 19 of the Year's Finest Crime and Mystery
Stories" (Carroll & Graf); the 5th annual "World's Finest Crime & Mystery"
anthology (Tor/Forge); and "Flesh & Blood: Guilty as Sin" (Mysterious Press).
In 2007, his short story �Uncle Blinky�s Corner of the
World,� which first appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, was
short-listed for a �Derringer� award by the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
Levinson served four years on the Mystery Writers of America national board of
directors, as well as two years as president of MWA's Southern California
He wrote and produced the 2003 and 2004 Annual Edgar Awards gala of the MWA and
more recently the inaugural and 2nd Annual Thriller Awards shows of the
International Thriller Writers organization (2006 and 2007).
In addition to MWA, ITW, Sisters-in-Crime and Private Eye Writers of America,
Levinson is a member of the Writers Guild of America-west (past board of
directors member), Academy of
Television Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Recording
Arts and Sciences, Country Music Association (former board member), Public
Communicators of Los Angeles (past president and Life Member), and the Hollywood
Radio & Television Society.
He is past chairman of the editorial board of the WGAw's
monthly magazine, Written By, and served six terms as president of the
Hollywood Press Club, which years later voted "The Elvis and Marilyn Affair"
"Best Novel About Hollywood" in its annual HPC Awards of Distinction.
Levnson�s first one-act play, �Transcript,� was presented last year as an
out-of-competition �special event� at the International Mystery Writers Festival
of RiverPark Center in Owensboro, KY, and subsequently developed by RiverPark in
radio show format for international distribution.
This year, the IMW festival has nominated his �Murder Times Two� for �Angie�
award honors and has scheduled four stage performances during the second annual
event, June 12-22. It comprises two one-act plays adapted from short stories
earlier acquired by Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine: �Take My Word for It
and You Don�t Have to Answer� and �Between Sins.�
With publication of his first novel "The Elvis and Marilyn
Affair," Levinson embarked upon a fifth career, following decades of success as
a newspaperman, a public relations executive, and a writer-producer of more than
three dozen television specials
He was a newspaperman (Riverside, CA, Press Enterprise,
Los Angeles Times) before entering the field of public relations,
where he represented a diverse roster of major corporate, industrial and
financial accounts, among them the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,
Mattel Toys, 21 Brands, Waste King Corporation, Filon Corporation, and General
His company, Levinson Associates, created and pioneered
"independent PR support services" in the music industry and at one time was the
largest rock-contemporary music PR firm in the world. The company made
Esquire Magazine's first "Hot 100" rock-and-roll list of music industry
headliners and he was the first to be honored by Billboard Magazine as
"Publicist of the Year," for his innovative international campaigns.
Any catalog of Levinson Associates clients--comprising more
than 700 major star names--would include Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood
Mac, The Who, Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Jimmy
Buffett, The Osmonds, Olivia Newton-John, Ike & Tina Turner, Bee Gees, KC
and the Sunshine Band, Tanya Tucker, Bread, Kinky Friedman, Shaun Cassidy,
David Cassidy, David Essex, John Entwistle, and Tom Petty, as well as the
National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Arnold Kopelson Productions,
Dick Clark Productions, Mike Curb Enterprises, the Actors Studio, Lee
Strasberg, Richard Harris, Suzanne Somers, Marcel Marceau, Roger Clinton;
Motown Records, Capitol Records, MCA
Records, RSO Records, Island Records, Jobete Music,
Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), the MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas; the Tropicana
Hotel, Las Vegas; and, the Friars Club.
Later, he formed Levinson Entertainment Ventures, Inc.,
developing, writing and producing some 40 comedy, musical, variety and awards
specials for the world marketplace, among them the Annual Soap Opera Awards,
the first and second annual Beach Music specials, and shows starring major
artists such as Glen Campbell, David Soul, Jerry Lee Lewis, the late Marvin
Gaye, Blood, Sweat & Tears, WAR, America, Anne Murray, Charlie Rich, Charley
Pride, the Jacksons, and others. Two Suzanne Somers one-hour variety specials
for CBS Television were created and developed by Levinson, supervising
production for Hamel-Somers Entertainment. "Here Comes Didi!" was a series of
half hour comedies produced in Hollywood and West Germany and starring one of
Europe's major entertainers, Dieter (Didi) Hallervorden.
Levinson's freelance writing over the years included four
years as art columnist and critic for Coast Magazine, where he wrote the
first major consumer cover story dealing with Andy Warhol, a feature that
anticipated Warhol's significant role in art history. He wrote for
publications such as the Los Angeles Times West Magazine, Rolling
Stone, Westways, Los Angeles Free Press, Written By
Magazine, and Los Angeles Magazine.
References to him appear in more than a dozen books about
the art world, the music business, and show business in general, among them:
"Legal Aspects of the Music Industry;" "Praise, Vilification & Sexual Innuendo
or, How to Be a Critic/The Selected Writings of John L. Wasserman;" "Liberty
Records. A History of the Recording Company and its Stars, 1955-1971;" "One is
the Loneliest Number/On the Road and Behind the Scenes with the Legendary Rock
Band Three Dog Night;" "The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul;" "Oscar
Dearest: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards;" "Ken Tyler-Master
Printer and the American Print Renaissance;" "Gemini G.E.L./Art and
Collaboration;" "Teen Idols;" "Robert Rauschenberg;" "Technics and Creativity."
For the WGAw, Levinson created a School Literacy Program
that brought writers into classrooms on an ongoing basis, to inspire youngsters
to read and write and give them a sense of the real world outside the
For the Hollywood Press Club, he has developed and produced
a series of special events that include a Life Achievement Gala for Milton Berle,
an evening honoring retired Daily Variety Editor Tom Pryor, stage plays
dealing with historical Hollywood figures such as Orson Welles and Harry Cohn,
legendary founder of Columbia Pictures, and a Lifetime Achievement gala for
Broadway composer Jerry Herman ("Mame," "Hello, Dolly!").
Other fund-raising event involvements have included Friars
dinners honoring Burt Reynolds, Roseanne and Charlton Heston; a Bette Midler
opening night concert for the Colette Chuda Fund; SHARE's Annual Boomtown Show;
benefit performances of "Love Letters" for Tuesday's Child; a luncheon hosted by
Jamie Lee Curtis, Sissy Spacek and Edward James Olmos to benefit the AIDS Orphan
Adoption Project of the NCFA (National Council for Adoption); and, a Gateways
Hospital Humanitarian Award dinner honoring the late philanthropist Sybil Brand.
Levinson has been honored in the past, by the California
State Senate, whose resolution recognized his "outstanding record of
dedicated and highly-effective performance to the entertainment through
the force of public relations, as well as to the growth and economic good of the
State of California." The Los Angeles City Council recognized Levinson for
creating and implementing an anti-drugs program designed to show young people
that "the road to real success is easier to achieve in a drug-free community."
Levinson's novels have been praised by, among others,
Nelson DeMille, Clive Cussler, Joseph Wambaugh, Joe R. Lansdale, John Lescroart,
David Morrell, T. Jefferson Parker, James Rollins, Heather Graham, F. Paul
Wilson, Michael Palmer, Dick Lochte, Gayle Lynds, Peter Lefcourt, Digby Diehl,
Jon L. Breen, Tom Nolan, and Ernest Lehman.
"The Elvis and Marilyn Affair" earned him the first in a
series of rave trade and consumer reviews. "The James Dean Affair" opened at the
#1 spot on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list and also was the
book-of-the-month choice of the MSNBC Book Club. "The John Lennon Affair,"
another best-seller, was succeeded by "Hot Paint," a Gulliver & Marriner
thriller built around Andy Warhol that was a Hollywood Inside Syndicate
The best-selling "Ask a Dead Man" received a coveted
starred review from Publishers Weekly, which observed: "A novel that not
only stands alone but stands tall. Writing with considerable invention, grace
and energy, (Levinson) tells an intricate and emotionally potent tale of murder
and double-cross�This is a dense, dark, beautifully wrought tale of love and
betrayal, sin and retribution, offering serious suspense, terrific twists and
full-blooded characters. Levinson may not have an Irish name but he carries the
soul of the Irish poets in his pen and in his heart�only a dead man wouldn't
relish this read."
"Ask a Dead Man" also was hailed by Kirkus Reviews for its "guilty
pleasures," and Booklist raved, "Genuinely exciting�It sinks its
narrative claws into our skin and drags us along on what proves to be an
exhilarating ride�" The Chicago Tribune called it "a book full of enough
treachery and paranoia to light up a small city."
The Chicago Tribune singled out "Where the Lies
Begin" as "(Levinson's) latest tough and funny new book (with) a gang of Federal
double dealers who make the Hollywood Press corps look like a church choir,"
while the Baltimore Sun hailed the novel as "(An) ever-surprising,
character-rich thriller," and the Midwest Book Review described it as "A
complex and exciting espionage thriller�fun to read as the audience tries to
determine who's on whose side."
An in-demand public speaker, Levinson resides with his
wife, Sandra, in Los Angeles. He welcomes contact at
email@example.com as well as Post Office Box
292393, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Appearances, other activities, photographs, and
special features, are updated frequently at his website,
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