The pictures

Guy Bolton

Book - 2017

Hollywood 1939. The year that The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind were made. Detective Craine has spent his life working as a studio fixer, whitewashing the misdemeanours and crimes committed by the studio players and stars. But now he's trying to turn his back on that life, following the recent death of his wife, as he's determined to be a better parent to his young son. But then Craine's services are called upon one last time. MGM need him to smooth over the press coverage o...f the suicide of one of their producers. And soon, what should be a straightforward case proves anything but when connections are made between it and a brutal murder across town. And that's just the start of the story.

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Subjects
Genres
Detective and mystery fiction
Historical fiction
Mystery fiction
Published
London : Point Blank 2017.
Language
English
Physical Description
389 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781786070395
1786070391
Main Author
Guy Bolton (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Set in 1939, this debut novel from a British screenwriter concerns the apparent suicide of MGM executive Herbert Stanley, whose latest project had been overseeing the making of The Wizard of Oz. With Dorothy and Toto awaiting their premiere, why would this veteran Hollywood figure choose to hang himself? Patrick O'Neill, a new detective with the LAPD homicide squad, wants to find the answer to that question, but he's pretty much on his own. Louis B. Mayer needs Stanley's death to become old news quickly, and to that end, he calls on Jonathan Craine, also an LAPD detective, to do what he does best: fix stuff for studios worried about scandals. But Craine, only recently returned to the job after the suicide of his actress wife, is sick of being a fixer. Drawing heavily on early James Ellroy, especially LA Confidential, Bolton spins a lurid tale of Hollywood after dark, complete with drugs, prostitution, and pornography. A subplot involving Craine's troubled son belongs in an MGM melodrama, but otherwise, this one works fine, nicely mixing Hollywood glamour with backroom sleaze. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The year is 1939, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios is celebrating its 15th anniversary, studio head Louis B. Mayer is at the top of his game, and The Wizard of Oz is about to premiere to eager fans. Not far from this glamorous setting a young woman is savagely murdered in West Hollywood, calling LAPD detective Jonathan Craine to the scene. Known to be Hollywood's inside man, Craine successfully pins the murder on a convenient ex-con. Within hours, a second tragedy strikes, introducing Craine to Patrick O'Neill, a young detective who is as straight as Craine is crooked. O'Neill's persistence in the investigation forces Craine to confront his corruption and question the road he has chosen. Craine's feelings are further complicated by the producer's widow, Gale Godwin, a beautiful and beguiling film star. As the body count climbs, there is mounting evidence that something very sinister is unfolding and Craine might be the only one who can stop it. VERDICT This debut novel by a British screenwriter takes its time drawing readers into the glitzy, deadly world of Old Hollywood. A solid read for fans of the silver screen and intelligent detective novels.—Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The execution of British screenwriter Bolton's first novel, set in Los Angeles in 1939, falls short of the nifty noir premise. Det. Jonathan Craine is the LAPD's fixer for the movie studios that make the local economy hum. His history of supplying tidy resolutions to messy problems, rather than actual justice, begins to weigh heavily on him after a young woman's murder links back to a blackmail racket out of MGM Studios, just as its chief, Louis B. Mayer, prepares for the premiere of The Wizard of Oz. Bolton has clearly done his homework on pre-WWII Hollywood, but his efforts to evoke the setting are marred by leaden explanations of Craine's motivations, Briticisms, and otherwise sloppy prose. A hard-boiled American detective, for example, is unlikely to eat a meal "with a bottle of claret." Still, Bolton has imagination to spare, and hopefully he'll do better next time. Agent: Anna Power, Johnson & Alcock (U.K.). (Sept.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Murder is his business. An exhilarating new talent, Guy Bolton's unforgettable 1930s Hollywood fixer moves within the dark recesses of the film business to electrifying effect.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Murder is his business. An exhilarating new talent, Guy Bolton’s unforgettable 1930s Hollywood fixer moves within the dark recesses of the film business to electrifying effect.Shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award"THE PICTURES is a compelling and dazzling debut for fans of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy. Bolton's tightly paced mystery vividly re-creates 1930s Hollywood and is enriched with complicated, fascinating and flawed characters."-- Shelf Awareness"Atmospheric...provides a pleasant tour of Hollywood's golden age. "—Kirkus Reviews"Guy Bolton manages to create real atmosphere in THE PICTURES. Kudos to him for that atmosphere — which isn't restricted to just the MGM lot and the glamorous Lilac Club downtown, but also includes several disparate Los Angeles neighborhoods where interesting crimes might take place."- NPR BooksHollywood 1939. The year that The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind were made. Detective Craine has spent his life working as a studio fixer, whitewashing the misdemeanours and crimes committed by the studio players and stars. But now he’s trying to turn his back on that life following the recent death of his wife as he’s determined to be a better parent to his young son.But then Craine’s services are called upon one last time. MGM need him to smooth over the press coverage of the suicide of one of their producers. And soon, what should be a straightforward case proves anything but when connections are made between it and a brutal murder across town. And that’s just the start of the story.It’s only a matter of time before Craine must decide whether to follow orders, or to attempt to redeem a career of concealment by going in search of the ugly truth. It’s a choice he knows that cannot end well.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

*Shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2017* World-weary Jonathan Craine is a detective at the LAPD who has spent his entire career as a studio ‘fixer’, covering up crimes of the studio players to protect the billion-dollar industry that built Los Angeles. When one of the producers of The Wizard of Oz is found dead under suspicious circumstances, Craine must make sure the incident passes without scandal and that the deceased’s widow, the beautiful starlet Gale Goodwin, comes through the ordeal with her reputation unscathed.But against his better instincts, Craine finds himself increasingly drawn to Gale. And when a series of unsavoury truths begin to surface, Craine finds himself at the centre of a conspiracy involving a Chicago crime syndicate, a prostitution racket and a set of stolen pictures that could hold the key to unravelling the mystery.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

*Shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2017* World-weary Jonathan Craine is a detective at the LAPD who has spent his entire career as a studio 'fixer', covering up crimes of the studio players to protect the billion-dollar industry that built Los Angeles. When one of the producers of The Wizard of Oz is found dead under suspicious circumstances, Craine must make sure the incident passes without scandal and that the deceased's widow, the beautiful starlet Gale Goodwin, comes through the ordeal with her reputation unscathed.But against his better instincts, Craine finds himself increasingly drawn to Gale. And when a series of unsavoury truths begin to surface, Craine finds himself at the centre of a conspiracy involving a Chicago crime syndicate, a prostitution racket and a set of stolen pictures that could hold the key to unravelling the mystery.