Innocence—and lives—are lost in the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Struggling to make ends meet during the Great Depression, Shelby Beckett flees the Oklahoma dust bowl to find work in the wardrobe department of Hollywood’s largest movie studio. Surrounded by glamour and wealth, Shelby is charmed by box office star Flynn Sparks as well as Flynn’s chief rival, fellow actor Dalton Andrews. As Shelby joins her suitors at opulent parties and intimate dinners, she rubs elbows with the likes of Clark Gable and Cary Grant and is drawn deeper into a lifestyle where her small town values are challenged or ignored.
Lurking in the shadows of this Gatsby-like lifestyle is an unseen evil force that strangles beautiful women. Suspecting a madman is connected to the studio production where Shelby works, homicide chief detective Bill Barrister believes the only way to uncover the identity of the ruthless killer is to offer Shelby as bait.
Once again, Ace Collins takes his readers back to the past, this time with an absorbing tale about murder and movies during the Great Depression. It’s 1936, and Shelby has been forced to leave the only home she’s ever known when the family farm in Oklahoma is repossessed by the bank. Hollywood is unlike anything she’s experienced before, and well-meaning individuals are all too willing to give her advice. But beautiful young women from the studio where she works are turning up murdered, all seemingly strangled by the same illusive killer. Shelby needs to not only keep her soul intact, but also stay alive in the process.
Hollywood Lost reads at times like a film noir. There are ambitious starlets, movie studio moguls who think they’re above the law, actors with the world at their feet, and ambitious female reporters. I could imagine it playing out in black and white, with Grant, Stewart, and Cagney taking the main roles. The key players are all involved when the murderer is revealed in an original, but fitting, method. I thought I knew the identity of the killer early on. I was wrong. I was also wrong in my second choice. Ace Collins throws in plenty of false leads, written in such a way to make the reader think they’ve solved the puzzle.
If you want to lose yourself in a murder mystery this summer, this is definitely one I recommend.
Thank you to Abingdon Press for my complimentary copy of Hollywood Lost, which I downloaded from NetGalley. A review was not required.
Have you read Hollywood Lost? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 21 April 2015
Page Count: 320