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The Devil's Playground

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He went out into what was left of the lake and stood in the midday sun, drinking the brine to kill himself. It is a bizarre and intimidating sight: black and jagged, like some dark malignancy growing on the bleached skin of the desert… Christ, he thinks, it’s like a movie set.

One, the last known copy of the 1927 horror film “London After Midnight,” starring Lon Chaney — who also appears here — was destroyed in the 1965 MGM vault fire. The comparison really made the - for me - short-comings of this book more unfortunate than might have been the case had I not read the two books one right after the other. Then the POV goes back to win the movie was being shot at first glance it looks like the main actress has killed herself Mary Rourke who is a Hollywood fixer and helps clean up negative happenings thanks she was way too selfish for that and believes she was murdered and although she will try to keep it on the down low it seems everyone she talks to already knows about it. Her hair is bright white against the dark tan of her face, but he realizes that, were she to dye it, she could pass for a woman twenty years her junior.This story is told in third person in multiple timelines from the swamps of 1893 Louisiana to 1927 Hollywood and an old hotel in the desert of 1967. She knows—as everyone in Hollywood’s inner circles knows—that Norma Carlton and Veronica Stratton are— were—bitter rivals. When Rourke finds Carlton dead, she wonders if the dark rumors she’s heard are true: that The Devil’s Playground really is a cursed production. With the looming threat of the ‘talkies’, every studio needed to make their mark, to salvage what was left of the careers of the silent movie greats, and to gain a foothold in a rapidly changing movie landscape.

The Devil Aspect is a Gothic horror story set in Czechoslovakia in 1935 and Hyde is a dark thriller set in Victorian Edinburgh. Also wonderfully strange is a film professor's 1968 trip to an abandoned hotel in the middle of the Mojave where a copy of the film may be hidden. He is married to Veronica Stratton, the glacial beauty whose star shines even brighter than his, and they are Hollywood’s darling couple, second only in popularity to the Fairbanks-Pickfords.Separated by decades, both Rourke and Conway begin to suspect that the real Devil's Playground is in fact Hollywood itself. A Packard 533 coupe pulls up at the curb behind a parked police wagon, and the driver, a woman of about forty, steps out onto the sidewalk.

Hollywood, where make-believe comes to life and anyone can become anything they wish to be, was even more duplicitous during the silent film era before the talkies changed the landscape of the movie industry. That anticipation and willingness to expect the unexpected and to embrace the decadence and egos that typified 1920’s Hollywood. The plot is relentless and clever, and the writing is vivid, intelligent, and funny at just the right moments, but best of all are the complex characters, such as the four murderers, each with a backstory that makes it possible for the reader to trust them to enter hell and have the strength to leave again.Characters: Protagonist and Hollywood fixer Mary Rourke, who is terrific and deserves her own full book, plus a wide and distinctly varied supporting cast in all three time periods.

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