From the critically acclaimed, award-nominated author comes a new noir crime classic about one of the most notorious trials in American history.
Critics called Ace Atkins's Wicked City "gripping, superb" (Library Journal), "stunning" (The Tampa Tribune), "terrific" (Associated Press), "riveting" (Kirkus Reviews), "wicked good" (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and "Atkins' best novel" (The Washington Post). But Devil's Garden is something else again.
San Francisco, September 1921: Silent-screen comedy star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is throwing a wild party in his suite at the St. Francis Hotel: girls, jazz, bootleg hooch . . . and a dead actress named Virginia Rappe. The D.A. says it was Arbuckle who killed her--crushing her under his weight--and brings him up on manslaughter charges. William Randolph Hearst's newspapers stir up the public and demand a guilty verdict. But what really happened? Why do so many people at the party seem to have stories that conflict? Why is the prosecution hiding witnesses? Why are there body parts missing from the autopsied corpse? Why is Hearst so determined to see Fatty Arbuckle convicted?
In desperation, Arbuckle's defense team hires a Pinkerton agent to do an investigation of his own and, they hope, discover the truth. The agent's name is Dashiell Hammett, and he's the book's narrator. What he discovers will change American legal history--and his own life--forever.
"The historical accuracy isn't what elevates Atkins' prose to greatness," said The Tampa Tribune. "It's his ability to let these characters breathe in a way that few authors could ever imagine. He doesn't so much write them as unleash them upon the page." You will not soon forget the extraordinary characters and events in Devil's Garden.
In September 1921, silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was tried for the murder of budding actress Virginia Rappe after a wild, boozy bash at a San Francisco hotel. The case was particularly notorious because William Randolph Hearst unleashed the full force of his media empire on it, allegedly tainting evidence and claiming Arbuckle crushed Rappe under his immense weight. A key private investigator for Arbuckle was none other than a young Pinkerton agent named Sam Dashiell Hammett, who turned up much more than a botched police investigation and an unethical autopsy. On the margin of the case was a web of Hollywood intrigue and corruption worthy of its own scandal, fueled by the looming demise of the silent film and Hearst's desire to preserve mistress Marian Davies's acting career. Atkins's (Wicked City) latest noir historical thriller showcases one of the most infamous Hollywood murder trials with a compelling style and a deft blend of fact and fiction. Sure to appeal to Hollywood buffs and mystery readers alike, this is recommended for popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 12/08.]-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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April 01, 2009
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