Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Julie's Review: Beverly Hills Dead

Photobucket Summary: Demoted L.A. detective Rick Barron recently quit the force to head security for Centurion Studios and has now morphed into the studio's head of production. Using this new power at the studio, Rick is in charge of selecting leading actors and scouting settings for a gritty western written by famous playwright Sidney Brooks. Centurion is a worthy stand-in for the typical studio of the era, but the Hollywood blacklist story and the untimely disappearance of one of the stars is familiar territory, and Woods doesn't break any new ground. Longtime fans of Woods's Stone Barrington series are sure to enjoy certain aspects of the story, but newcomers are likely to be disappointed.~amazon.com

Review: You know how when you are getting to the last 50-100 pages of a book and you wonder how the writer will wrap it up without making it seemed rush? Well that's what Stuart Woods did in his latest novel Beverly Hills Dead. Beverly Hills Dead is a continuation of the characters he introduced in 2004's The Prince of Beverly Hills, except it doesn't take off right where the 1st book left off, it jumps a several years and fills you in on what we missed, which is perfect.

We are in "old" Hollywood for the time period and during the "Red Scare" or the McCarthy era where people were blacklisted for being Communists. This is the main storyline and I found it very facinating but thought that it could have been a bit more flushed out or examined. Not only does the novel deal with politics in that nature but it also slightly touches on homosexuality but from the female perspective and how that would have played out in the 1940/1950s in Hollywood. Maybe the plots aren't strong but I always love Mr. Woods character development and he did a fantastic job again. I was thrilled when I read he was coming out with another Rick Barron novel. Rick Barron himself could be a movie star but he's not, he's an ex-cop who ends up making a good life for himself. His boss Eddie is hilarious and of course well connected. I found the part about shooting on location very interesting since it was rare in those days since most everything was shot in a backlot or studio. The book also briefly introduces us to the media medium called television and how it first got started.

Within the first few chapters my mouth dropped because Mr. Woods tied in a major character from his series with Stone Barrington. I was thrilled and really enjoyed getting to know this person at this stage in their "life".

Beverly Hills Dead isn't a complicated book by any means but there are a few good twists and turns and is an extremely enjoyable read. I always find myself not wanting to put his books down; therefore I typically read them in a a day or so.

If you've never read a Stuart Woods book, I would say this is a good "series" to start with since there are only 2 and if you like them move on to his Stone Barrington books.

Final Take: 4/5

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