Review by Rox Burkey – – – **** Creative Historical Fiction
Mr. Sinclair sets up the story as a look at history from a collection of correspondence exchanged during the 1940s discovered at a garage sale in a trunk. Mr. Ratchman discovers the letters he suspected might be of historical value. Upon inspection, the letters were in a foreign language and in code.
He broke the code and translated a remarkable twist on a previously unknown detour of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life during the 1940s when France fell victim to the Germans. Reluctantly recruited by Duval, a double agent of Vichy France, Fitzgerald is trained and coached to help French loyalists restore their country.
The paths of these two men cross by design in Hollywood, where Fitzgerald is writing to survive while Hemingway’s popularity is soaring. The correspondence by Duval relates the glitz of the Hollywood in-crowd and the outrageous lifestyle of Fitzgerald who parties with the Marx brothers, sleeps with Sheilah Graham, and insults William Randolf Hearst, to name a few of the characters encountered from the sunny beaches of California to the high rises of New York, and finally France. Murry Sinclair frames colorful, well-known locations to take his reader to American pre-WWII with vivid dialogue, an unfolding hair-raising spy adventure, and unapologetic debauchery of the characters. The journey of Duval and Fitzgerald contains all the elements from hate to love, to fear, to manipulation, before the unexpected ending of this side note in history.
Throughout the narration, Terence McGovern delivers the story with various character voices, delightful accents, and well-time intonations. The delightful audio rendition brings the listener into the well-written historical thriller. Fans of historical fiction and lifestyles of the once rich and famous in Hollywood will enjoy this tale.
About the Author
Murray Sinclair is best known for his hard-boiled Ben Crandel series, a trio of Los Angeles-based mystery novels about a down-on-his luck writer set in the criminal underbelly of early 1980s Hollywood. The stories touch on the adult entertainment industry, political corruption, Neo-Nazis (circa 1980), and the moral majority led fearlessly by corrupt evangelists. The first of the three, Tough Luck L.A., received the Special Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Paperback Original. In 1988, Tough Luck L.A. and its sequels, Only in L.A. and Goodbye L.A. were among the few new books published by Black Lizard Books, the legendary crime fiction press whose selections are widely regarded as hard-boiled canon. In 2019 the series was reissued by The Mysterious Press.
About the Narrator
Terence McGovern was born on May 11, 1942 in Berkeley, California, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for American Graffiti (1973), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990). He has been married to Molly Blaisdell since January 7, 2012.