Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Sunday, May 20, 2007

Who Done It?


Portrayed in a new book as a killer.

May 18, 2007 -- HUMORIST Robert Kaplow's celeb satire "Who's Killing the Great Writers of America" ain't funny to Steve Martin. The book deals with a demented killer out to slaughter the publishing world. Top writers such as Stephen King head his hit list. He puts others in situations like Danielle Steel trying to seduce Gérard Depardieu, and Tom Clancy, in black leather, handcuffed to a radiator.

Labeling it a kind of celebrity chic to be killed in his book, NPR's Kaplow says: "Some authors are begging me to kill them. They feel it might be the last hope for their careers. But I tell them, 'I'm only killing the A-list.' "

Ruffled by this exercise in literary absurdity is Steve Martin who, in the book, wants to be a big-time writer and, thus, is the one killing off all the others. His ICM agent Ed Limato is the one who unsuccessfully tried to kill off this book. Phoenix is marching it onto the bookshelves as we speak.

NY Post

Authors are dying for a shout-out in this novel

May 18, 2007, 06:00 PM | by Ken Tucker

So there’s this new novel being published June 1st called Who's Killing the Great Writers of America?, by Robert Kaplow, see? And in it, famous scribes, including EW columnist Stephen King (pictured) — as well as Tom Clancy, Danielle Steel, and Sue Grafton, among others — are offed violently. In the novel, the murderer turns out to be... comedian-writer Steve Martin. Cindy Adams is reporting in The New York Post that Martin is annoyed about being portrayed in this way.

Well, as EW’s unofficial Ancient Pop-Culture Guy on the staff, I can pull a tattered paperback off of my dusty shelves and remind you whippersnappers that way back in 1973, there was a novel called American Mischief, by one Alan Lelchuck. In it, the lead character shoots Norman Mailer at point-blank range and kills the famed author of The Naked and The Dead dead. And — well, whaddaya know? — at the time, Mailer, like Martin, was peeved at being portrayed fictionally.

But while Cindy Adams asserts that Steve Martin’s agent has tried unsuccessfully to prevent publication of Kaplow’s book, back in 1973, Mailer took matters into his own rough-knuckled hands. As Time magazine’s R.Z. Sheppard reported at the time, Mailer threatened to reduce Alan Lelchuck to "a hank of hair and some fillings." (Ancient Pop-Culture Guy is moved to remark with admiration: They don’t make threats like they used to, do they?) While Alan Lelchuk has published numerous books since American Mischief, none of them has brought him anywhere near the coverage and notoriety that Mischief did. And if I was Robert Kaplow, I wouldn’t have picked Stephen King as a victim no matter how much ink it got me. Gosh, I’d hate to see Kaplow reduced to a hank of hair and some fillings in a future King thriller...

So, given the fact that, despite having published a number of other novels, Robert Kaplow isn’t exactly a household name, do you think killing off "great writers" is: a publicity stunt? A rip-off of Alan Lelchuk’s idea? A chance for readers to discover a bold talent who hasn’t yet received the acclaim he deserves? Or some combination of all of these?


posted by KMT


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