The Manhattan Beach Project

The Manhattan Beach Project

A Novel

Barely four years after winning an Oscar, Charlie has sunk into the ranks of Hollywood bottom-feeders -- reduced to living in his nephew's pool house, kiting checks and taking the bus to his weekly Debtors Anonymous meeting, where he meets a mysterious ex-CIA agent who proposes to resuscitate Charlie's foundering career -- in the beyond surreal world of reality TV.

Charlie puts his tap shoes on to sell a show about a ruthless Uzbek warlord and his family ("think The Osbournes meets The Sopranos") to a rogue division of ABC, known as ABCD, which operates out of a skunkworks in Manhattan Beach, California, and whose mandate is to develop, under top secret cover like that for the Manhattan Project, extreme reality TV shows to bolster the network's ratings.

Warlord becomes a breakout hit and results not only in causing one of America's largest entertainment conglomerates to go into full damage-control mode but also in shifting the balance of power in Central Asia and in proving that in show business it's not over till the mouse sings.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416572763 | 
  • August 2007
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Sharing

Three years, nine months and twenty-four days after winning an Academy Award for producing the best picture of the year, Charlie Berns was sitting on a folding chair in a second-floor room at the Brentwood Unitarian Church Annex listening to a woman with smeared lipstick and a bad postnasal drip tell him, and the other thirteen people in the room, that she had just charged $1,496 worth of cashmere sweaters on a VISA card she had received in the mail and failed to destroy.

"I was just a week short of eighteen months debt-free..."

The woman, who looked as if she had slept in her car with the heater on,... see more

About the Author

Peter Lefcourt
Photo Credit:

Peter Lefcourt

Peter Lefcourt is the author of six previous novels: Eleven Karens, The Woody, Abbreviating Ernie, Di and I, The Dreyfus Affair and The Deal. He is also an award-winning writer for film and television.
He lives in Los Angeles.

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