Hollywood, tinsel town, in the late 1930s is the setting for the novel by the versatile Ace Collins. It’s a time before computer enhanced special effects where giant studios created the images seen on the screen through human ingenuity. And big name stars made movies with an eye to creating diversions for people caught up in the horror of the great depression.
Shelby Beckett and her family have to leave their farm in Oklahoma due to drought and financial ruin. A situation made familiar by John Steinbeck in several of his books. Her father has been promised help in securing a job with a studio in Hollywood, and Shelby also manages to obtain a position in the wardrobe department as a seamstress.
Charmed by the stars, Flynn Sparks and his rival Dalton Andrews, two of the biggest luminaries working for the studio Shelby becomes exposed to the party atmosphere they exist in. She becomes familiar with stars like Clark Gable and Cary Grant. She is also attractive enough to possibly become an actress.
Collins utilizing the atmosphere of this era sets up a murder mystery involving a serial killer that selects starlets as his prey. Bill Barrester is the police detective assigned to catch the killer and at one crucial point asks Shelby to help him.
As in all Ace Collins’ novels the action is fast, the characters interesting and well fleshed out. The book is more a fast read than an engrossing one, but Collins very rarely disappoints and Hollywood Lost is no exception.
4/15 Paul Lane
HOLLYWOOD LOST by Ace Collins. Abingdon Press (April 21, 2015). ISBN978-1426771880. 320p.