A disgraced director wants a comeback, but a rival wants him dead
Carson Drury’s first movie was a smash hit that raised his reputation from that of boy genius to greatest director of all time. His second film, The Imperial Albertsons, was even more ambitious, but aggressive editing from the suits at RKO Pictures ruined the movie, and Drury’s career with it. Now RKO is dead—killed by the upstart medium known as television—and Drury wants to buy his movie and reedit it, his way. It’s up to Scott Elliott to make sure Drury lives to see the final cut.
A detective working for the ultraexclusive Hollywood Security Agency, Elliott spends his days and nights helping the stars keep their private lives private. There is someone out there who will kill to keep the new version of The ImperialAlbertsons from ever seeing the light of day, and Elliott will turn Hollywood upside down to find him.
“The mystery pays off at the end with enough sockdolagizing surprises for a month at the bijou.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Faherty’s deft plotting makes good on every little clue he plants, while pointing us and his hero toward all sorts of folks who just have to be the killer—except they aren’t. In the end, we find a murderer who manages to win our sympathy and a wunderkind who, for all his arrogance and deceit, turns out to be a man of reflection and insight.” —The Indianapolis Star
“I was hooked on the ambience of old Hollywood and an Indiana that doesn’t much exist anymore, and on the strength of Faherty’s characterizations, especially the wily, dissembling Drury and a dying, cancer-ridden movie tough guy unmistakably fashioned after Humphrey Bogart. Elliott makes a tough and principled protagonist in this unique and satisfying series.” —The Plain Dealer
“With enough red herrings here to fill several mysteries, Faherty stretches Elliott’s detective skills to the limit.” —The Washington Post
“Strong atmosphere, a hard-boiled hero, and an evocative look at contemporary Hollywood names, events, and places.” —Library Journal
“Evocative period detail compliments a clever plot and likeable hero.” —Booklist
Terence Faherty (b. 1954) is an American author of mystery novels. Born in Trenton, New Jersey, he studied at Boston College and Rider College (now Rider University) before moving to Indianapolis, where he took a job as a technical writer. He also began attending writing workshops organized by the Indiana Writers Center, an experience that led him to write novels, beginning with Deadstick (1991). Nominated for an Edgar Award for best first novel, Deadstick introduced Owen Keane, an ex-seminarian who uses his metaphysical background to solve mysteries.
Faherty has written seven other novels starring Keane, including Live to Regret (1992) and Eastward in Eden (2013). In 1996 he began writing about the old-fashioned private detective Scott Elliott, a hard-boiled gumshoe whose adventures, chronicled in books like Come Back Dead (1997) and Raise the Devil (2000), are infused with the flavor of old Hollywood. Faherty’s most recent novel is The Quiet Woman (2014).
Last time out, Scott Elliott-WWII hero, failed actor and security guy-waded through Kill Me Again, a lengthy exercise in hackneyed movie trivia. The subject matter then was a murder set around the filming of a sequel to a film a lot like Casablanca. Although the old actor dying from cancer on the edge of this new narrative is Bogartish in the extreme, readers instead should think Orson Welles. It's 1955, and Carson Drury, a onetime movie wonderkid who is now exiled somewhere in Indiana, is reshooting a new ending to his flawed masterpiece, The Imperial Andersons. Drury is bent on resurrecting his reputation and staying one jump ahead of the mysterious accidents that dog his steps, accidents that start with falling cameras and seem destined to end with a killing. The trouble here, beyond the fact that Faherty doesn't deliver enough Tinseltown insider stuff to tax any serious old film buff, is that the essential killing doesn't appear until the middle of the book. By then, the pedestrian references and cardboard persona of Elliott will have most likely worn down all but the most determined reader. Elliott, a hunk and a family man, is a nice enough guy, but his character needs more attentive prose than it receives. Fans of the author's Owen Keane series, notably the fine works like The Lost Keats and Deadstick, are in for a letdown here.