Illustrated by Sean Phillips
This series is a classic Hollywood murder mystery. Charlie wakes up after a raging party, and he finds the star of his movie dead in her living room. He quickly erases all trace of himself and flees back home. Later, he finds out the studio staged her after he left to make it look like a suicide, and the lie eats away at Charlie. He tells his friend Gil, who also can't stand what the studio is doing. Gil and Charlie have a tenuous relationship - it was originally Gil's idea to have Charlie report Gil as a Commie during the Red Scare, and now Gil feeds Charlie ideas and dialogue for scripts so they can split the money. Ever since WW2, Charlie can’t write like he used to, but his name is still respected in Hollywood. The studio recasts the leading lady role, but Charlie is still unsettled by the whole affair, and he stumbles upon a few clues that drag him into the mystery even more.
Brubaker does a wonderful job creating this mystery and doling out enough tidbits to keep you reading. It's not all just murder talk, though. There's the tie in with the Red Scare and Charlie having to grapple with how that turned his industry upside-down. There's the War and how it has torn Charlie to shreds, how he isn't coping with it at all. Gil is a serious loose cannon, and someone needs to put a leash on him and not let him outside his house. The head of the studio is also kind of a crazy person who had secret passages installed in his buildings so he can clandestinely walk in on starlets in their changing rooms. At the moment, there is a lack of female characters who are fully developed, but our leading-lady replacement has the potential to become a really interesting character.
There are sexual scenes, and waste up female nudity. There is also frequent smoking and alcohol usage, and some cussing. This title is a little too mature for the school library shelves.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Adult
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Adult, Comicbooks, Mystery
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