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In this coming of age gothic tale, avid feminist and aspiring filmmaker Kate Bloom discovers long lost footage that holds the key to who murdered her grandmother. Legendary movie star, Gloria Reardon, may be dead, but friends and lovers from the Golden Age of Hollywood’s heyday are still very much on the scene, and it seems everyone has something to gain or lose from Kate’s discovery. Enlisting the youthful and brash film restorer Dylan Nichols as her closest ally, Kate becomes haunted by Gloria’s glittering past. Caught between glamorous Old Hollywood and the gritty, exciting New Hollywood of the 1970s, Kate is determined to find out what really happened to her grandmother and in the process, becomes the killer’s new target.
What an interesting story! I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Part mystery, part romance and a little bit of a ghost story, Allison Morse did a great job keeping me intrigued and entertained.
A terrifying incident from the start of this story really molds Kate into the woman she becomes. She's determined to expose the underbelly of the movie business with her documentary films, but instead becomes embroiled in the mystery of her grandmother's murder when she locates missing film from the day of her murder. And is that grandma's ghost giving her nudges along the way?
Add in a love interest in the form of not-exactly-handsome, but somehow appealing Dylan Nichols who has a few secrets of his own, and then set it in the 1970s (I'd not realized the time period, actually, until they mentioned Dylan had directed an episode of The Partridge Family!).
I really enjoyed the characters in this book, from Aunt Lillian to the detective to Jarvis, and Kate's bestie, Natalie. They were all unique and well drawn, and a good part of the reason I enjoyed this read. The setting, too, was well done and believable. I lived through the 70s and it seemed quite accurate without being overbearing.
The mystery was decently done and kept me guessing nearly to the end. The romance was a bit on the back burner, but still solid and Dylan was the perfect guy to help Kate through the problems in her past. All in all, a solid read and an author I'd be happy to read again. 4.5 stars!
Kate returned to the sealed box and ripped off the tape and flipped the lid open. Light bounced off a container with a shiny handle on top. The premonition of what it might be now solidified into something more than fantasy. Trying to remain calm, she told herself that it couldn’t possibly be what she hoped it was. It had been lost...destroyed...right?
Her heart pounded as she used both hands to lift the metal container. She undid the latches. Inside were two round 35 mm motion picture canisters.
“Lillian!” she shouted.
As she pried off the top of the first canister, she was assaulted by the pungent smell of vinegar. The film appeared brittle. She was afraid to touch it in case it turned to dust in her hands. But she had to know. With the tips of her fingers and holding her breath, she unwound a small piece of film and looked at it. There, captured in the frame, was Gloria––the costume, the set behind her…there was no mistaking it. These reels were from Emperor Smythe. It was the infamous missing footage from the day Gloria was murdered on that film set.
“Lillian! Quick, Lillian!” Kate returned the footage to the canister and closed it up.
Her great-aunt hurried back to her. “What? What is it?” Her eyes widened as she gazed at the canisters. “Is that what I think it is?” Lillian asked.
“The footage. The missing footage.”
For book club resources and to learn more about Allison and her new fiction, please visit her Website at http://www.allisonmorseauthor.com/
Twitter ID: @AllisonMorseLA
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