“Searchlights and Shadows”
Book Four in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah series
At the dawn of 1942, the dark days of Pearl Harbor still loom over Los Angeles. America is now at war, and posters warn home-front Hollywoodites that loose lips sink ships.
Wartime propaganda is the name of the game, and the studios are expected to conjure stories that galvanize the public for the war effort. Marcus Adler is an MGM screenwriter whose latest movie was stolen out from under his whiskey glass, and he’s determined it won’t happen again. He comes up with a sure-fire hit, but his chance to triumph is threatened by a vicious rumor: “Marcus Adler is a goddamned Commie.”
Gwendolyn Brick is the handiest gal with a needle this side of Edith Head. After losing her job at the Cocoanut Grove, she dreams of opening her own dress store. But banks don’t make loans to single girls. However, wartime in L.A. opens the door to an opportunity that will rake in the bucks. But will it be worth the trouble if it drags her back into the orbit of Bugsy Siegel?
At the outbreak of war, the Hollywood Reporter’s circulation starts to shrink like a food rations coupon book. Its lead columnist, Kathryn Massey, realizes she can no longer ignore the obvious: her boss, Billy Wilkerson, is gambling away his fortune—and her future. Could their very survival depend on a place nobody’s heard of called Las Vegas?
In the city of searchlights, suspicions can lurk behind every shadow.
Searchlights and Shadows is the fourth in Martin Turnbull’s series of historical novels set during Hollywood’s golden age.
Read chapter one now.
Sample reviews from readers (Amazon.com)
I embarrassed myself several times (in a good way) as I openly wept in public during several scenes in the book. I found them sensitively written and quite affecting. … I’m actually pretty blown away how much this series has swept me away and held my interest — there have been other series I’ve read that started off well and then lost my interest the further I got into it. Turnbull’s characters continue to grow and become richer as they mature and become (presumably) wiser. I recommend this book every bit as highly as the first three.
Over the years, I’ve read some not-so-great novels set in Tinseltown, that I read only because of my great love for the topic. However, Mr. Turnbull’s series has delighted me and kept my interest from the very beginning, with his very realistic and relatable characters and intriguing, page-turning plotlines. Seeing so many of my favorite actors, actresses, and other classic Hollywood personalities on the page engaging with the main characters is a continuous thrill, and whereas less-talented authors might not be able to pull off intertwining fictional characters into the lives of the real citizens of Hollywood, Mr. Turnbull manages this without a hitch.
How can this series get any better? I have read all the books and absolutely devoured this one in a few days. The plot twists are so enjoyable and the relationships never cease to amaze me. I can’t decide which book is my favorite so far because each one offers it’s own great story.
One of the things I like most about Martin Turnbull’s “Garden of Allah” novels is his choice of historical moments. They are always transitional and linked to important events in American movie history — the traumatic shift from silent to sound in the late Twenties; the gradual shift to color with “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind” in the late Thirties; the clashes between auteurs like Orson Welles and media moguls like William Randolph Hearst in the early Forties; the World War II years and the rise of anti-Communist witch-hunting in the postwar years. Turnbull is one of the few authors to offer an intelligent and realistic treatment of gay characters (who lived in an era where this was a closely guarded secret.) His command of historical detail, his fine sense of character, and his ability to move a story forward all contribute to a first-rate reading experience. I am a film historian myself, and I look forward to each new publication in this series because Turnbull consistently breaks new ground in constructing an alternative, and highly credible, history of Hollywood. I’m already looking forward to Book 5
Searchlights and Shadows
- Book Four of the Garden of Allah novels
- Historical Fiction, set in Hollywood during World War II
- ISBN – 978-1506024615
- 418 pages
- Available in paperback and ebook
- Published: 2015
- Read CHAPTER ONE
Available in all formats – ebook and paperback
→ Book Depository paperback (free worldwide shipping)
And when you have read it (and assuming, of course, that you enjoyed it), if you have the chance and inclination, I’d really appreciate it if you could leave a review on my Amazon page. Rate it as many stars as you see fit, and give your honest opinion. The more reviews a book has, the higher its Amazon profile. Thanks!