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The Devil's Playground

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It’s not that Russell doesn’t drop hints — he does generously — but that he seems to know that even if you guess who’s who, it won’t temper the thrill of his fast-paced, intricate tale. Lindqvist runs away to join the Dahlman and Darke Magic Lantern Phantasmagoria circus after witnessing its sleight-of-hand act “where a dark shape spread itself wide. She pauses as the ambulance men bring the stretcher-borne dead star down the stairs, followed by Doc Wilson. Inside, Rourke is talking in Spanish to Renata, the Mexican maid, about the sin of suicide and the need to spare the señora’s family the shame. The secrets and lies and the dichotomy of the what the public saw and the lives as they were truly lived by the stars that they all idolised.

She knows the house and its scattered half-dozen neighbors are all less than a decade old, the blossoming of recently sown seeds of sudden wealth and confidence.

There are some chapters set in the more modern (relatively speaking) 1960s which go someway to explaining away the truth of the story, and those scenes alone create a kind of tension, an uneasiness that it’s hard to identify but even harder to ignore. The novel starts off with a murder, and with seven people trapped on an isolated Greek island lashed by a "wild, unpredictable Greek wind. This is an elaborately plotted historical mystery, rich in fascinating detail; the horror stuff is fun, but – surprisingly – far from my favourite thing about the story. When someone tells you that Miss Carlton has died of heart failure—I’ll arrange for the news to be broken on-set tomorrow— make sure you look shocked. She had to take over in a hurry after the previous Virgil, Darlington, her mentor and love interest, disappeared in a cliffhanger at the end of the first book.

Filming has already been plagued with issues, leading to whispers that the entire project might be cursed. But nothing in Hollywood is ever what it seems, and cynical fixer Rourke, more used to covering up the truth for studio bosses, finds herself seeking it out. There isn’t much graphic violence but there are a lot of mysterious horrors nonetheless (even if much of it is indirectly suggested)! In the world of Bardugo’s Alex Stern series, Yale’s secret societies command not just powerful social networks, but actual magic; it’s Lethe’s job to keep that magic in control. He senses a greater absence: no photographs grace the walls or punctuate the bookshelves; no painting hangs from the picture rail.This is a wonderfully crafted work that takes us back and forth in time from 1967 to 1927, and then even further back to 1897 and 1907 to introduce us to character and a plot that is intricate and spellbinding.

This breathtaking tale–set against America’s favorite backdrop, Hollywood–seamlessly blends noir, gothic, and mystery. He sees it almost immediately, and it is a bizarre and intimidating sight: black and jagged, like some dark malignancy growing on the bleached skin of the desert. He knows his Hollywood history and he knows the film endured myriad tragedies and ended up lost to time. Craig Russell shows us a vibrant late-'20s Los Angeles, assured in details and confident in ambiance. Moving from backwater bayous in Louisiana and empty plains of Kansas to the glittering, illusory, and soul sucking world of Hollywood this novel entertains, confounds, and bewitches.

I received this book from NetGalley I am double day books but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

Well-drawn characters introduce the criminal underworld to the occult kind in a breathless and compelling plot. The harsh, hot, bounded here-­and-­now of the room and the harsh, hot, boundless desert beyond is all there is. She steps through the portico and doorway, into an entrance hall that is wide and white, the ceiling ribbed with Spanish arches. The sign is so sun-­faded and grit-­scoured that if Conway didn’t know the name he’s looking for, he wouldn’t be able to make it out. Rourke leaves them to it while she steps into the other bedroom and talks the Brit through the fiction.Anything sensitive about the studio, any narcotics, anything sex-weird, anything linking her to one of our names. The author apparently also has a thing for penis length, as readers are exposed to a number of references about it.

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