Here's a thought for a term paper (or maybe a master's thesis or maybe even an academic career): an analysis of tough-guy fiction that is devoid of crime. Charles Willeford wrote one that I've reviewed, High Priest of California and John McPartland wrote another, The Face of Evil. In The Package Deal super-productive author Willis Todhunter Ballard, who usually stuck to westerns and detective stories, takes his shot at this sort of novel.
The Package Deal by Willis T. Ballard. Appleton-Century-Crofts (1956), 280 pp.
A previously successful screenwriter returns to Hollywood after a long absence. Hired as a writer, he soon becomes the producer of a prospective television series. He finds himself short on time and money and dependent on the participation of an inexperienced but staggeringly sexy young actress. He tries everything he can think of to get the series off the ground, but the animosity of a powerful agent threatens to kill the project.
The author, best known for his westerns and detective novels, here creates a tough-guy television producer. The story, set in the early 1950s, presents a caustic insider’s view of the beginning of TV production in Hollywood. Recurrent problems (some more critical than others) and the protagonist’s responses to them form the backbone of the story. The characters are drawn clearly but with little depth. The twisting plot and vigorous writing style, however, make this a pretty fun read.