Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tinseltown by William J. Mann

Let's take a trip back in time to the 1920's and the beginning of Hollywood, movies, big stars, and the politics of all that.  The men running the studios had immense power and fashioned the lives of those who worked for them.  We're not that far from 2020 and I bet nothing has really changed about the power structure there; there are just different players.

HarperCollins sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published this month, so keep an eye out for it at your local bookstore.  It's in the true crime section.

Mr. Mann must have spent a lot of time researching this story.  He has enough details to put together a story of 428 pages.  It's far from boring, though.  I knew a bit about the early movie days but this covers a whole lot of new ground for me.  Zucker is a big player here and wields his authority in a way that makes him money.  If someone gets left by the wayside, so be it.  There are a lot of bit players and some that seem unimportant become very important.

There are three women involved in this story of murder.  Each person is trying to follow their own dreams and somehow it just quite never seems to work out.  They all admire William Desmond Taylor, the president of the Motion Picture Directors Association.  He's steadfast, a calming influence, and he's very good at his job.

The oldest woman considers Billy her good friend and one who will listen to her and try to help her.  The middle woman is a schemer who will make money anyway she can.  The youngest woman thinks she's in love with William and he's meant to be her mate.  Since it seems he's gay, there's not much chance there. There are other things about William that no one knows until he's dead.

This reads more like a novel than a non-fiction tale.  It's almost like a strange fantasy world where people who look at the same thing see different things.  Mr. Mann takes you through the various evidence found and lost, the clues that helped him reach his conclusion, and tells you who he thinks killed William.  I think he's reached the wrong conclusion.  However, since all parties who might know something are dead now, there's no way to know exactly what happened.

Read this story and then come and tell me who you think killed him.  Maybe you'll think it's an even different killer.  It's that kind of story.

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