cover image The Fame Thief

The Fame Thief

Timothy Hallinan. Soho Crime, $25 (336p) ISBN 978-1-61695-280-8

In Hallinan’s satisfying third Junior Bender novel (after Little Elvises), the L.A. burglar/PI continues to excavate show business’s forgotten past, investigating in this installment the also-rans of postwar Hollywood. Dolores La Marr’s ascent to movie stardom was quickly halted in 1951 when she was found at a gangland party in a police raid. Decades later, 93-year-old attorney Irwin Dressler, Southern California’s most feared powerbroker, is still infatuated with her. When Irwin asks, or rather orders, Junior to determine who set up Dolores all those years ago, the detective must comb through the short list of Dolores’s surviving acquaintances, including publicist Pinky Pinkerton, louche director Doug Trent, and arch-rival actress Olivia Dupont. Hallinan de-emphasizes the series’ dark humor and recurring characters—like Junior’s teenage daughter, Rina, and his girlfriend, Ronnie—offering instead convincing flashbacks to Dolores’s early Hollywood adventures and a sincere look at her eternally deferred Hollywood dreams. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Bob Mecoy Literary. (June)