This is a well written book that passes all my standards for a five-star review. However, I have to say that I didn’t particularly enjoy the fiction. This lack of engagement being in large part because I find everything relating to celebrity status intensely dull. I was seduced to read by the outstanding opening phrases of the first chapter. The nod towards the spilling of blood suggested a read I wasn’t going to get, but let me be clear, Patrick certainly didn’t set out to deceive murder/mystery lovers and thriller fans into reading. The contents are clearly written on the label if one takes the trouble to read the full blurb.
We all have expectations about the way certain people behave. In this case those expectations are largely played too. We read a strong story about the pampered celebrity elites that fill the vacant spaces in real human-interest news stories. For many entertainment industry fans this must be exactly choice bread and butter. Hollywood, like sport or gambling, fills a lot of territory in very many individual lives. I on the other hand couldn’t ever raise a care as to which flawed characters rose or fell in the glittering fictional pond. I’m sure I’m missing out on something by not being intensely interested in the rivalries between the real stars, the Joan Crawford versus Bette Davis, Orson Welles v William Randolph Hearst, that inform the fictional ones Patrick creates.
This fiction does a convincing job of paralleling and parodying reality. Patrick plucks a little bit from a great many of Hollywood’s legendary lives and places his clever concoction into a near future time. The masked figure on the cover of the version I read gave me a clever and accurate feel for the story that waits inside. So is my negativity of any value to most of those that are planning to read this book? That is a fair question. I can recognise that this is well written escapism. The jealousies really are so very Hollywood, so well reflecting backstory reads in a thousand glossy magazines and perhaps, as a crude generalisation, so much more female than male in interest.
I failed to pick up on the dark humour mentioned in the Kirkus Review, or anything very funny at all except in the absurdity of familiar movie satire. I kept wondering if I was missing something. And indeed, perhaps the joke is on me for the view through my blinkered myopic eyes. Certainly, this book has some really good reviews, many that have no trouble in finding comedy.
In short, this is quality paint, plausible Hollywood glitter, that for me dries too slowly, if at all, and leaves too few memorable bursts of colour.