Hollywood Pharaohs by Andrew Mayne
4* – a rollicking good read!
I downloaded this book after reading Angel Killer by the same author and absolutely loving it. I think it would be hard to top the originality of Angel Killer and, as expected, I didn’t enjoy this book as much. That said, it’s still a great book and one of the best I’ve read this year.
The blurb pretty much says it all – it does exactly what it says on the tin. Mr Mayne has, again, created compelling characters.
Mike, the ex-cop who looks like the identical twin of an A-list Hollywood star, is refreshingly normal (aside from the fact that he has someone else’s face). He makes mistakes, he suffers misplaced guilt and he’s very jaded about the whole A-list lifestyle. He’s like an action hero for the dystopian lover.
Theresa, the beautiful glamazon actress with (fake) pneumatic chesticles is also likeable. She’s as smart as she is pretty and doesn’t hesitate to use her god (and surgeon) given talents to swing things her way. You get the impression sometimes that she’s a shark dressed up as a pussy cat, but it’s hard to tell if she’s really that calculating or if she’s just really genuine and has a hard time playing the game. That said, I really did feel like she was the whole weak point of the plot. I just didn’t get why she would continue to go after the necklace once people started dying, for the sake of not wanting to change an outfit. It seemed to jar horribly with the rest of her character development and made the whole storyline a little tenuous.
Despite that, if you can suspend your disbelief and gloss over the odd plot hole here and there, you’ll realise that Mr Mayne has once again created an action-packed, fast paced and, most importantly, interesting book. I loved the idea of an Egyptian temple hidden in the middle of the desert as just another one of those weird and crazy things rich eccentric people do. Yes, there are several spelling mistakes in the book, but in everything else the author is meticulous in his attention to detail.
One of the things I loved most about Angel Killer was all the behind the scenes stuff about magic. This was very similar, except it was about the film industry. It reads like it was written by an insider. The tiny facts about places, sets, people to know and even how they make sound effects are what makes this another fascinating read.
I very much enjoyed it and already have Public Enemy Zero waiting on my reading list.