Read Play It Again by Stephen Humphrey Bogart Online


R.J. Brooks left Tinseltown behind long ago to become a "matrimonial detective" in New York City. But he finds himself facing ghosts from his past when his celebrated mother is murdered in Manhattan. To solve this case he needs both his street smarts and his Hollywood connections. One way or another he has to find the killer. This is Bogart's first work of fiction....

Title : Play It Again
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780812551624
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Play It Again Reviews

  • Valerie
    2019-04-22 21:37

    I got this book in one of those grab bags of books (mystery books in this case) that a friend got me for my birthday. Otherwise I never would have picked it up. Luckily it was short. This book was just so strange. I felt like the characters were all fairly two dimensional with the possible exception of the main character RJ, and he only felt a tad less two dimensional because it was narrated from his point of view and the author described his thoughts. In way too great of detail.Overall I just don't even know what to make of this book. I assumed based on the cover/author/title that it took place in the 40s until a few pages in, only because it mentioned some form of technology that wasn't available then. Like was this supposed to be a murder mystery? A noir set in the mid 90s? Why was there a guy with a hook for an arm? Why were the occasional internal monologues of the killer the best written (and creepiest) parts of the whole book? Other than those bits, it was like the author was trying to find awkward ways of phrasing things like: "What he had read, and what he thought about what he had read, had battered him." There were just so many cliched, melodramatic lines that made me roll my eyes and some that just didn't even make sense. Actual line from the book: "Pike rolled back along the hall like an underdone muffin on skates." I mean, what?? The whole book is super meta too, because the main character is the son of 2 old time movie stars, as is the author (son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall), but the main character complains about his mother never being there for him because she was too busy with her career and honestly my biggest question is, how on earth did Lauren Bacall feel about this book? I mean, the book is called "Play It Again" and the main character actually says "Play it again, Sam" at one point. There were a few passages that weren't without merit and I was curious to find out who the killer was, but those aspects did not overshadow how ridiculous the characters/plot/dialogue were, so I feel like I just can't give it more than 1 star.

  • Larry Hostetler
    2019-04-06 22:45

    I liked this book a lot. I expected a bit more Sam Spade, but it had sufficient interest in spite of it not quite being noir. Set in New York, the story makes the reader wonder how much is from the author's real life and how much is pure fiction. Certainly any author derives much of non-fiction from experience and observation, so whether it is mostly fiction or in large part a reflection of the author's experience is merely a point of interest, not crucial to enjoyment of the story.The story is a fairly typical mystery, with well-developed characters and a good plot with ongoing clues. The one part of the book I wasn't enamored with was the insertion of the murderer's thoughts (always in italics). The first one wasn't clear enough to me that it was the murderer, but I may have been obtuse and others may recognize the device immediately. I wondered after the third or fourth whether I would enjoy the book more if I skipped them, but decided not to. Not sure whether they added much, and in hindsight wish I'd gone with my instinct. I found them distracting. The suspense built well and the climax was also well-done. The denouement was a bit quick with too little resolution. What about the other murders? While the climax including some explication I would have liked a more complete answering of questions and insight into the future at the end. But otherwise a good read.

  • Beesley
    2019-04-14 00:39

    This is what happen when I visit used bookstores while on vacation - I ended up finding and reading all kinds of interesting things. This one made me wonder about the Oedipal undercurrents, as it involves a private investigator who is the son of a famous actress. The famous actress is killed off and the son has lots of unresolved mommy stuff. The writer is of course the son of a famous actress and a famous actor. Yikes! It was an enjoyable old school murder mystery, though, with lots of snappy one liners.

  • Sallie
    2019-04-03 00:41

    This book has been on my TBR pile/shelf for years, so I finally go to it. I enjoyed it for the most part. You could kind of figure out where it was going, but he's a good writer, so I liked it.Interesting to find the references to Sam Spade - not many, but some.

  • JoãoJorge
    2019-03-23 01:43

    “Play it Again” is written by Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart´s son. That is pretty much the only thing of interest I can say about the book. The plot deals with a private detective, R. J. Brooks, that´s the son of a famous Hollywood couple! While his father died long ago, his mother, Belle Fontaine, is still alive and still a diva. Their relationship however is distant and cold, a result of Belle caring more about her career than being a good mother during his childhood. However when Belle turns up dead, R. J. decides to investigate the murder while evaluating his own life and the life of a mother he never really knew.Bogart mixes a bit of his personal life with some noir conventions and and tries to make it all work. Unfortunately it doesn't for a variety of reasons. The plot is mundane, more close to a bad “Perry Mason” episode than a hard-boiled detective novel. The noir is pretty much absent. The only noir thing about the novel is that there is a private eye and that he sometimes has a few clever lines which mostly fall flat. There´s no complicated conspiracy here or deep hidden secrets to uncover. No, what we have here is a dull and even somewhat pathetic serial killer with a laughable motivation. The ending is quite spectacular, in a bad way! If you want to know how to not write a climax to a story this is the book for you. At one point I actually burst out in laughs at the camp material. However where the book really fails is at its base. The main character. R. J. Brooks. Brooks is a whiny, self centered, incompetent fool with an inclination for depression and self loathing. Bogart takes its time exploring his character´s mommy issues, his puppy love for a girl and there´s even a bit of alcoholism thrown in there for good measure. Brooks seems unable to do a single thing right in the whole book. He´s perpetually static until other characters push him into some sort of action. What is more surprising is that the supporting characters are much more compelling and interesting than him. Especially Casey Wingate, a beautiful and tough reporter which is smart and driven and does her best to get to the truth while dragging R. J. along. Even in the very end its Casey who truly wins the day after R. J. is once again an incompetent fool. Bogart doesn't even use his probable knowledge of the golden age Hollywood as the book is spent in the seedy part of Manhattan. Fortunately the book is small and a quick read, thanks to Bogart´s vacuous style. However this really was an awful disappointment. Its not even close to an homage to his parents or the movies they were in. Its not a good noir novel or even an average crime tale. There´s no glamor or style. Its just a weak plot with a very unlikable character and a ridiculous denouement.Please Sam, don't play it again!

  • John
    2019-04-06 02:46

    Yes, it's the son of the actor . . . and so I fully expected this curio to be pretty ghastly. My expectations seemed confirmed by the fact that it bore a laudatory cover quote from Connie Chung; all this proves that Bogart is pals with Connie Chung. Still, you know the principle: You bought it, so you better read it, buster. And in fact it's quite good . . . although I found some aspects of it a bit disquieting. As the front-flap blurb explains, our hero, R.J. Brooks, is "the only son of a legendary [now dead:] movie tough guy and his most glamorous leading lady"; compare and contrast with the back-flap bio, which tells us that the author is the "son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall". To get away from his ghastly mother, Brooks has set himself up as a seedy P.I. handling "matrimonial cases"; but his life changes when his mother is discovered murdered in the midst of a sex act with her latest studly toyboy. Do you think there are maybe some issues here? That aside, the tale rattles along fairly nattily, and there's a sufficient quota of snappy noir-style one-liners. Had Bogart published the book under a pseudonym, this wouldn't have been a concern: I might have wondered if the reference were to HB and Bacall, but it wouldn't much have bothered me. Who knows? Perhaps this was Bogart Jr's original intent but his agent/publisher persuaded him otherwise? I dunno.

  • Ice
    2019-04-19 23:47

    The name is for real: the son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall debuts with an uninspired tale of New York PI R.J. Brooks, son of has-been movie star Belle Fontaine. The unsavory R.J. sleeps with his clients, wonders what he ever saw in his ex-wife and worries about his son from a distance. R.J. never got along with his famous parent, resenting her for being an absentee celebrity mom, but he nevertheless feels obliged to investigate when she and a man are found shot to death on a massage table in a pricey Manhattan hotel. Lt. Fred Kates, who is running the police probe, likes R.J. mainly as a suspect. Casey Wingate, who was making a film on Belle, however, is eager to join R.J. and pool information.Aided variously by his surrogate father, "Uncle Hank" Portillo (conveniently employed by the FBI), by Casey's recent film footage and sharp mind, by Belle's private diaries and by his own childhood memories, R.J. comes to see that the real object of the murderer's interest may still be alive. The plot may not be strong on logic but, then again, insanity figures powerfully in the resolution. Readers looking for a great Bogart work should stick to the big screen.

  • Sherry Wilson
    2019-04-07 23:50

    This book was a totally unexpected find. I was wandering through the stacks at our public library when I spotted the name Bogart. I was intrigued after scanning the cover and decided to check it out. It was a very enjoyable read. There is a sequel to this book titled, "As Time Goes By". "Play It Again Sam" and "As Time Goes By" are apparently the only fictional books written by the son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

  • Gregg
    2019-04-03 01:21

    I wanted to like this book, considering the family heritage and that I am a big fan of Bogart's. It seemed there were unresolved issues with his mother at the time he wrote this. At least, that is how it came off to me. I didn't make it very far before I had to stop reading it, so I can't provide a complete review. Maybe my opinion may have changed had I kept at it, but I just couldn't make myself read another page. My apologies to Stephen if my initial impression was completely off base.

  • George
    2019-03-23 22:36

    Set in New York City, R.J. Brooks is a young private investigator who primarily handles cases to obtain evidence on a cheating spouse. He's pretty much estranged from his mother and has a lot of issues regarding her which also dampens his ability to deal with emotional issues. Things change when his mother is murdered and he becomes involved in helping to find the murderer.

  • Lorena Drapeau
    2019-03-27 23:47

    just cause your dads famous doesn't mean you can write. i was really hoping to like this book since at the time (in 1995) my b/f's dad was friends with the guy. we each got a signed copy and i knew if wanted to i could meet him.i should have met him before i read his book because afterwards i didn't want to.

  • Donna
    2019-04-15 00:28

    Read some of the other reviews, but they were too harsh. I liked the book, found it entertaining and well written. No, it will never become one of the great books of all time, but it was very good. I did buy the book because it was written by Bogart/Bacall's son, and I have always been a big fan of both. I would recommend the book to anyone who likes mysteries.

  • Huguette Larochelle
    2019-04-07 23:48

    a thriller from the only son of a legendary movie Humphrey Bogart.

  • Marcia
    2019-03-27 22:34

    it took a while for me to get into it, but once I did, I was hooked. Many parallels to Bogart's life....I mean, come on Belle Fontaine?? Really? I think we know who THAT was based on! ;)