Back to Life, A Hollywood Historical Mystery Novel, Fig Hollow Publishing, an e-book by Lawrence J. Epstein.
Plot: The story opens in Hollywood, CA on April 20, 1939 when the Nazi Regime was showing its increasing aggression. A killer devises and executes his plan to kill Marthe (Marti) Bevin an immensely popular American film artist who espouses the Nazi cause. The next chapter takes place a day later in Sag Harbor, NY where Charlie Singer’s wife is knifed to death by an unknown assailant just as he is returning to her after saving Katie Walker from drowning. It seems that Katie, a seemingly born loser, unfortunately changed her mind about suicide after jumping off a bridge. From this unusual beginning the tale progresses through a complexly interwoven plot that includes more murders, thought patterns prevalent at the time, numerous characters, long held secrets, and minute details easily overlooked by the reader but of the utmost importance in determining the killer(s). Through it all Charlie and Kati manage to survive and gradually to climb ‘back to life’.
Discussion: This is a mystery story written in a manner somewhat reminiscent of those of the fifties by an author who “is a former English professor” and whose other mystery series is about “a man who struggles to find his moral code and live out a life true to his honest self in a world of deception, temptation, and death.” The protagonist Singer shows much of this same attitude. Thus, many readers will find this book to be appealing, fast paced and with a protagonist who is naively engaging and successful in a totally unfamiliar environment.
4* Fascinatingly well-constructed mystery.