Posted 20 hours ago

The Devil's Playground

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A single, huge painting dominates: an overscaled full-length portrait, painted in luxuriant colors, of a woman standing on the steps of some ancient temple. Rourke leaves them to it while she steps into the other bedroom and talks the Brit through the fiction. The characters in the book are interesting and I was engaged with some of them, main character Mary Rourke in particular.

She steps through the portico and doorway, into an entrance hall that is wide and white, the ceiling ribbed with Spanish arches. Separated by decades, both Rourke and Conway begin to suspect that the real Devil’s Playground is in fact Hollywood itself. In the world of Bardugo’s Alex Stern series, Yale’s secret societies command not just powerful social networks, but actual magic; it’s Lethe’s job to keep that magic in control.

One villain is a woman of color, described in the most despicable stereotypical language; the other is disfigured . He imagines it must be swept daily to remain free from the constant, importunate probing of the desert’s dusty fingers.

The comparison really made the - for me - short-comings of this book more unfortunate than might have been the case had I not read the two books one right after the other. Between them, they have three carryalls filled with paperwork, letters, photographs, address books, and a diary. She is medium-height, slim and narrow waisted without being meager, her bust and hips fuller than the prevailing trend prefers; her dark hair beneath the navy felt cloche hat, too, is longer than is the current fashion and falls almost to her shoulders. I didn’t think the author did a good job of making you feel like it was set in the 1920s, and the horror aspects were kind of boring. Time shifts back and forth and some of the characters reinvent themselves from period to period which could be a little confusing, butA masterpiece directed by an Expressionist genius who surpassed Lang, Murnau, Dreyer, Leni—all of them. We get an inside look of how the movie studios worked back then and how the police were often on their payroll. Unfortunately, the studio initially labeled the death a “natural causes” story and only later discovered it was indeed murder.

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