Titled The Falling Star, book two moves the scene ten years into the future and from France to Los Angeles. I’m sorry, it moves the scene to San Angeles. Much as Chandler wrote of Los Angeles and its environs pseudonymously—Bay City is Santa Monica, Gray Lake is Silver Lake–Winter does the same. Winter even goes so far as to spell ‘okay’ in the "Chandleresque" fashion: “Okey”. But it is not through a few clever name changes and quirky spelling habits that he manages to capture Chandler. His detective Dennis Foster is cut from the same cloth; He refuses a prospective client’s money because he is ethically unsatisfied with the job and in reality, works for the interest of a character he is investigating.
The Falling Star opens with Foster being hired to bodyguard a Hollywood starlet, Chloe Rose--the same Clotilde Rozenkrantz of Malniveau Prison. She is still married to Shem, whose career is nearing its ebb as he works as a script writer, though he has become less important as he sinks into drunkenness and womenizing, usually the with younger actresses working on his superstar wife’s movies. Foster is, as Phillip Marlowe was, not your stereotypical tough guy, but a complex, sometimes sentimental man. He doesn’t like working as a bodyguard, as his self-image is that of a detective. He also doesn’t like the fact that he is hired, in actuality, to not do a job and in the end discovers that he was lied to. But, in his diligent way he uncovers another crime and as he wades through the Hollywood egos, the single-minded police, the shady crime figures, and the requisite femme fatales, he not only sees justice done, but follows his own unique code of ethics which is defined as doing the right thing, not necessarily the legal thing.
I cannot recall a single author who captured Chandler so well. The plot and story could have been pulled from Chandler’s notebooks. The characters could have have stepped out of the pages of The Big Sleep or The Little Sister or any of the novels. And the dialog is wholly satisfying and could have been penned by Chandler from his grave. When Foster narrates, “Hollywood. The talent was crazy and the people behind the scenes were crazier.” It is exactly in that lyrical, cynical fashion that Chandler would have used and when he finishes the story/book with, “That’s why the movies never made any sense. The screen’s not big enough to hold everyone in it.” He adds to the Chandler ideal.