What a cracker of a read is this new book from American author, Timothy Hallihan. “The Fame Thief” closely follows the antics of one Junior Bender whose job description would have to include burglar, thief , murderer and arbitrator for the warring criminal class.
Bender is reluctantly summoned by the much feared and sinister 93 years old Irwin Dressler, a Los Angeles crime lord on whom the authorities have never been able to lay a finger and who, incidentally, is based on a real life character.
With subtle threats, a skeptical Junior is commanded to solve a 60 year old mystery concerning beautiful silent movie star, Dolores Le Marr, whose fall from favour, due in part to some well published indiscretion, heralded her disappearance from the silver screen and public view.
This is the starting point for Junior's quest for the whys, whats and wherefores of the case to satisfy Irwin's curious personal interest in the missing star. The book is staged in present day Hollywood we are taken on a historical tour of the shady beginnings of this American cinematic institution. Along the way we meet a colourful cast of larger than life, Damon Runyon type, characters.
The dialogue sparkles with acerbic wit and caustic put downs and, once started, it is a difficult book to leave alone, a real page turner. The pace is fast and furious with dead bodies a-plenty following in the wake of Juniors investigations. The big question remains, who is behind it all? We are lead down many false trails before the real villains emerge, neatly rounding off this pacey novel.
A very entertaining crime mystery and a highly recommended read