Today I have a two-fer review for you- the book I had scheduled to review and the short story that they author wrote after the book, that is actually the prrcursor to events in the book!
This pre-cursor short story is a great read after you read the book, as it fills in a missing piece of the puzzle- the episode from a different eye witness view (after all we all know how much eye witnesses vary on what they saw). Hallie continues showing us a vignette of old Hollywood, and how the paparazzi was used and worked. I was thrilled that Hallie wrote the novella, as it answered a couple of unanswered questions I had, and really completed the Hollywood story!
What Hallie says about the novella:
By the time I finish writing a novel, usually I’ve put the characters through so much grief and turmoil that a sequel would be cruel and unusual punishment. But when I finished NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT I realized there was more story to tell. Not what happens after the novels ends, but what went on before. And out “popped” (if only) a longish short story (this one). I worked hard to make sure that PHOTOPLAY doesn’t spill any of the secrets and surprises in NIGHT NIGHT. But if you read the story you’ll have a few insights into the characters in the novel that others won’t.
Los Angeles 1985: Deirdre Unger makes the drive from San Diego to Beverly Hills to help her screenwriter father put his dilapidated house on the market. She is expecting to deal with his usual kvetching and dark moods, but she gets a lot more than she expected…
In a cruel Sunset Boulevard-ian twist, Deirdre arrives home to find her father face down in his too-small swimming pool — dead. At first, Deirdre assumes her father’s death was a tragic accident. But the longer she stays in town the more Deirdre begins to suspect that this is merely the third act in a story that has long been in the making. The sudden re-surfacing of Deirdre’s childhood BFF Joelen Nichol — daughter of the famous and infamous Elenor “Bunny” Nichol — seems like more than a coincidence.
Back in 1963, Joelen confessed to killing her movie star mother’s boyfriend. It just so happens that Deidre was at the Nichols’ house the night of the murder, which was also the night she suffered her own personal tragedy. Could all of these events be connected? As Deirdre struggles to uncover the truth about the past, she is forced to confront a truth that she has long not wanted to believe.
What Hallie says about fact or fiction in the book:
Writing the story, I mined my own memories of what it was like to grow up in Beverly Hills in the 60s, the daughter of Hollywood screenwriters. I recreated the kind of parties my parents used to throw (laughter, music, a haze of cigarette smoke, and too much booze) and upgraded the guest list to include A-list players like Doris Day and Rock Hudson. I took the Beverly Hills house I grew up in, moved it from “the flats” to north of Sunset, and tripled its size.
Hallie continues the Ephron tradition of writing a story that holds you from page one until the end of the book! This is story is so much a love story to old Hollywood, coupled with a reality TV look at it! Readers will recognize aspects and situations from Hollywood's hey day. I loved how she interwove the two (fact and fiction) to create a story that felt like you were reading an autobiography, with a nice little mystery included! The mystery of what really happened that endless night may not really be truly know, but as Deidre digs deeper and deeper, she realizes that even the players involved told so many lies, that even they believed them. The book is a study in personality, celebrity and what people will do to keep the status quo. It's a great read, and if you love a great work of fiction, you need to check it out!
About the Author:
New York Times best selling author Hallie Ephron grew up in a family of writers and a household filled with books. Her parents were Henry and Phoebe Ephron who wrote screenplays for classic movies like Carousel and Daddy Long Legs. Hallie was the last of their four daughters (she’s #3 of Nora, Delia, Hallie, Amy) to start writing or, as she calls it, succumb to her genes. Now Hallie writes suspense novels she hopes keep readers up nights!