Taking Hollywood – Shari King
From Los Angeles based performer and presenter Ross King and bestselling author Shari Low, comes this dark tale of secrets, lies, and ruthless ambition, Taking Hollywood.
THE GLAMOUR OF JACKIE COLLINS MEETS THE GRIT OF MARTINA COLE IN THE DARK HEART OF A SUN-BLEACHED LOS ANGELES.
In front of a galaxy of stars, three young film makers accept their Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Davie Johnston, Zander Leith and Mirren McLean, childhood friends from a rough housing estate in Glasgow, have taken Hollywoodby storm.
Only they know what they did to get there. . .
Twenty years later Davie Johnston is the top host and reality show producer in town. Mirren McLean is a respected writer and movie director and Zander Leith is box office gold. But they haven’t spoken to each other in twenty years, their relationships devastated by one horrific secret.
Thousands of miles away, in a town where nothing is as it seems, a young ambitious journalist discovers a tantalizing story from the past. Tinsel Town beckons. She is determined to expose the kind of scandalous drama that usually only happens in the movies.
Thank you to Emma at Busy Bee PR for providing a copy for review. She thought I would enjoy this book and she was right!
Let me position this review. I have never read a Jackie Collins novel, I don’t follow celebrities or keep up with the Kardashians and the cover stars of the magazines I read are more likely to be Daleks or Lara Croft. But what I do like are stories that are about people, their lives, their hopes/fears and how they tackle problems. Taking Hollywood delivers this in abundance (likely by private jet with champagne on tap).
We meet Davie, Mirren and Zander at a time in their life when everything they hold dear is crumbling around them. Each face their personal demons, a failed marriage, drink and substance abuse or public rejection – all under the intense spotlight of the showbiz media in Hollywood.
The story swings between present day and twenty years back to 1993 when the three were children living a miserable existence in a Glasgow suburb. We know they make good and become international stars but we also know that they share a dark secret, one that drives them apart just as they have the world at their feet. As we follow the story we learn more about Zander, Davie and Mirren and their shared history.
The slow reveal of the childhood secrets is pushed on by the presence of a Scottish journalist who follows a story of a missing Glasgow Gangster to Hollywood and a hidden connection with the three stars. The journalist (Sarah) grounded the story for me and reeled in some of the excess and opulence – through her eyes we see the layperson’s view of just how far removed from reality the celebrity lifestyle seems to be.
The Hollywood portrayed is one of lavish decadence, excess and greed. Everyone is for sale, everyone is available and anything goes. Yet despite their public face showing success Taking Hollywood reveals the sham behind the glam and depicts a miserable life for our three heroes. I moved from disliking the Mirren, Davie and Zander to feeling sorry for them as their problems mounted. Anytime I find that I empathise with a character I know the author has drawn me in.
The story blends the fictional characters into real events and there are name checks for many famous stars (that even I recognised). It is a wonderfully bitchy story where everyone is trying to out-do everyone else and some of the stunts are great fun to read.
Taking Hollywood is pure escapism and as we got closer and closer to the finale I just could not put it down. The payoff of the revealed secret made it all worthwhile, thought I had it nailed – nope! Good job guys.