The James Dean Affair

Robert S. Levinson, Author Forge $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-87268-7
Sexy soap opera star Stevie (aka Stephanie) Marriner and her former husband, reporter Neil Gulliver, return for a second romp through Hollywood scandals, past and present. Stevie convinces Neil to attend a ceremony at the Hollywood post office for the issuing of the James Dean commemorative stamp. Stevie hopes that an item in Neil's column about one of Dean's long-ago co-stars, Nico Mercouri, will help Nico keep his job with Stevie's soap. Violence erupts at the ceremony, however, and Nico ends up dead, killed by a man eerily resembling James Dean himself. Aided by his old friend and mentor, Augie Fowler, now the self-styled ""Brother Kalman,"" Neil sets off on a quest for the truth behind the murder, while trying to keep both himself and Stevie alive. At the heart of the present-day mayhem is the question: did James Dean really die on September 30, 1955? And if not, how did he turn into a heartless killer? The investigation takes Neil and Stevie on a tortuous course through Hollywood history, examining the fates of many of those connected with Dean in his heyday, like Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, both of whom died under odd or brutal circumstances. Fans of Hollywood history and trivia will have a blast with the serpentine plot and arcane Dean lore that Levinson puts in the service of his puzzle. Others may find it all too convoluted and opt to rent one of Dean's old movies instead. Agent, Susan Crawford. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-8125-7246-9
Hardcover - 289 pages - 978-0-312-87792-7
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