Published by Disney-Hyperion on March 3, 2015
Genres: Mystery & Detective
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
LA Confidential for the YA audience. This alluring noir YA mystery with a Golden Age Hollywood backdrop will keep you guessing until the last page.
"Don't believe anything they say."
Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her--and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.
When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn't a kid anymore, and this time she won't let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets--and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie's attacker behind bars--if Alice can find her first. And she isn't the only one looking
Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.
~ The book opens with Alice visiting her sister Annie in the hospital, Annie has a broken back, a fractured skull and a crushed eye socket. Holy heck.
~ Alice has not seen Annie since she ran away four years ago, when Alice was twelve.
~ Set in the late 1940’s, which happens to be a time period that I love. I’m a fan of old movies, so I knew all the actors and movies mentioned. I often say I wouldn’t go into the past since I like modern conveniences and having equal rights, but if I had to choose, I’d go back to the 1940’s. Although this book highlights the darker side to the Hollywood in the 1940’s- Annie’s near beating death occurs just a year after the mysterious Black Dahlia murder (although the two are unrelated).
~ Alice is a fan of mysteries and detective stories. Her sister’s defection from home left Alice very lonely and she’s become pretty jaded for a girl her age.
~ Right away Alice has to make some pretty grown up decisions, like whether to tell her parents about Annie, whether to trust Jerry. I was impressed by her actions, wanting to protect her sister, hiring Eugene to keep an eye on Annie, and wanting to know who almost killed her sister.
~ The book offers flashbacks into the sister’s relationship. Although they’re about 4 years apart in age, the two share a love for codes and ciphers, having made their own up. This proves handy, since Annie was keeping a lot of secrets and still using the codes to protect those secrets.
~ Annie and Alice’s parents are very into the Hollywood scene, which makes it a lot easier to run around solving mysteries than most 16 year old girls would find it. Vivian is shallow and a drunk, but dad Nick has some dark shadowy secrets- some of which Alice uncovers when she goes all super sleuth in his office.
~ Alice proves that being an extensive reader pays off, but we also learn that books leave quite a bit out. 😉
~ There is a perfect balance of plot and action in this book. I’ve read a few books lately that do an awful lot of telling, but McCoy has skill. There’s a lot you suspect and sense, but nothing is ever exactly as it seems. You might know who the bad guys are, but trust me, you won’t be able to figure out all the bad and good guys and gals. You know how in Pulp Fiction you learn that everything and everyone are weirdly connected? (Sorry if you haven’t watched the movie yet, but everything and everyone are connected) This book is similar. Connections that aren’t easily seen at first are uncovered, and often in ways that surprised me. I would think I knew the connection or motivation of characters, but I was wrong a lot.
~ Alice grows up a lot in a short amount of time, but it’s really her friend Cassie that forces Alice to stop waiting in Annie’s shadow.
~ There is so much I’d love to discuss, but I don’t want to spoil the mystery. I loved every minute of this book, and even though it doesn’t come out until March, I’ve pre-ordered a copy of my own.
Alice- has joined the ranks of one of my all time favorite characters- she’s got that timeless feel about her, she’s a Scout, she’s a Jo, she’s a Nancy Drew, only she’s uniquely herself. Alice is amazing. She’s brave and smart and clever. She’s also pretty normal. She loves fictional detectives like Sam Spade and Philip Marlow, but she’s a great fictional detective in her own right.
Annie- Alice’s older, ran away 4 years ago, now she’s barely alive after a brutal beating. She, like her sister, is kind of amazing.
Jerry- he’s a private dick, but is he trustworthy?
Cassie- next door neighbor to Alice, they used to be best friends until Annie left.
Eugene- kindly orderly. Do they even have orderlies still?
Rex- I think he’s what we’d refer to as a henchman.
Ruth- knows Annie and Rex, hiding more secrets than that chick’s hair in Mean Girls.
Nick- Alice and Annie’s father, works for a movie studio and is involved in some shady shiz.
Vivian- Alice and Annie’s mother, former make-up girl and wannabe starlet, now she mostly drinks.
Milton and Alex Fleming- father and son of Fleming’s Fine Family Photography.
Conrad Donahue- very popular and attractive actor with a taste for private parties.
Camille Grabo- a fallen movie star with plenty of moxie (the book is full of moxie, actually).
Irma Martin- dancer and friend to Annie.
Gabrielle- a terribly young girl.
Cyrus- waiter and wannabe actor, friend to Annie, sort of a kid brother.
Otto- super sweet shop owner and Annie’s part-time landlord.
Walter Hanrahan- cop that Jerry knows.
Amos Carey- a journalist (in my head he’d be played by the departed Phillip Seymour Hoffman, not sure why).
The accidental chloroforming of one character by another. Which happens sometimes. 🙂
Also, all of Gabrielle’s back story, what happened that night and how people tried to intervene and help her.
Stop the Clock:
I loved this book. Like all my favorite books, Alice and the gang have taken up residency in my head (I would charge rent, but have you ever tried to collect money from a book character? It’s impossible! Bunch of squatters!). I can’t recommend this one enough. I just wish March wasn’t so far away!
Dead To Me gets a Midnight Book rating of: