It’s decades ago, when the internet was in its infancy Neil is summoned to the apartment of actor Roddy Donaldson, leader of the Diapered Dozen gang of teenage movie stars. Roddy is in bed clinging to life alongside two dead girls,with no memory of who they are or how they got there, making him the prime suspect in the murders. At the urging of Roddy’s mother, Neil chases after the truth, encountering a motley cast of suspects, including nasty Nicky Edmunds,Roddy’s co-star in Tough Times Two, and glamorous Jayne Madrigal, a high-powered press agent. There’s also rap superstar Maxie Trotter and his manager, RoscoeDel Ruth; Gene Coburn and Knox Lundigan, millionaire partners in Stardom House companies revolutionizing the internet; Aleta Haworth, a model-songstress who knows more than she’s telling; fading film star Brian Armstrong, who harbors dark truths; and Stevie’s mother, Juliet, and her fiance, Bernie Flame, a computer whiz who may be able to find answers for Neil in the secret underground world of the Web. More bodies fall and Neil faces an ugly death before the killer of the two girls is revealed in this fast-paced mystery thriller by an author who knows Hollywood’s many sins and secrets from the inside.
Early in Levinson's workmanlike sixth novel featuring L.A. reporter Neil Gulliver and actress Stevie Marriner (after 2010's The Andy Warhol Affair), the manager of the Heathcliffe Arms, the building in Westwood where Neil lives, asks for his help. The mother of 19-year-old TV star Roddy Donaldson, a fellow resident of the Heathcliffe Arms, is concerned because she hasn't heard from her son for three days. When Neil enters Roddy's apartment, Neil finds the actor, barely alive, in bed with two nude underage girls, both apparently dead of heroin overdoses. Neil hopes the discovery will jump start his journalism career, but to his chagrin, his managing editor takes him off the story, forcing him to sleuth unofficially. Some readers may feel that the hard-boiled narrative voice doesn't always hit the mark ("She was a bleached-blonde pixie with legs like telephone poles and a face that fell two years before Rome"). Improbable character names, such as African-American preacher Ronnie Plantation, don't help.