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The Devil's Playground

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The Devil’s Playground is reputed to be the greatest horror film ever made, a film that was also said to have cast a curse on everyone involved in its making. CRAIG RUSSELL is an award-winning Scottish author whose books have been translated into twenty-five languages. The plot does feel very busy, but eventually all the pieces come together relatively neatly considering all the moving parts of this story which span decades and multiple locales.

Absolutely stunning' M W Craven FROM CWA DAGGER AND DOUBLE McILVANNEY AWARD WINNER CRAIG RUSSELL COMES ANOTHER DARK, GRIPPING MASTERPIECE . Anything sensitive about the studio, any narcotics, anything sex-weird, anything linking her to one of our names. The sign is so sun-­faded and grit-­scoured that if Conway didn’t know the name he’s looking for, he wouldn’t be able to make it out. I found myself swept up in the puzzle that was Norma Carlton’s death, and Mary Rourke was the perfect amateur detective to lead the investigation. Separated by decades, both Rourke and Conway begin to suspect that the real Devil's Playground is in fact Hollywood itself.

There are satanic rituals, black magic and ancient fears and beliefs in play as the filming takes place. Mary’s boss, Harry Carbine, realizing a murder could ruin his already financially tapped-out studio, sends her to find the killer.

Populated with a truly memorable cast, Playground is a guaranteed one-sitting read…and how can you resist a novel about the scariest movie of all time?Other scenes, set in the past, long before The Devil’s Playground is even a spark in someone’s imagination, all add to the legend that is to come, informing what follows in ways that brought a smile to my face and an overwhelming sense of satisfaction as the book drew to a close. One studio is staking everything on “the most terrifying movie of all time” – The Devil’s Playground - but is plagued with a series of suspicious crimes, making the movie a publicity treasure.

There’s also an interesting cast of characters, notably Mary Rourke who is the ‘fixer’ employed by the studio making the film.I did find some of her conversations with her boss to be a little repetitive hanging the pace a bit. Why, he thinks, would a woman of her age choose to live so far away from anything, with no neighbor or help for miles? That anticipation and willingness to expect the unexpected and to embrace the decadence and egos that typified 1920’s Hollywood.

There is no conversation; she simply gives a series of instructions, then hangs the earpiece back in its cradle. Readers, want a book about silent film and the occult that doesn't include all of thus utter garbage? In a narrative that goes back and forth in time, there are threads that go back to 1897 and the Dahlman and Darke Magic Lantern show in Kansas, and in 1907, in the verdant malevolent swamps of Louisiana, there are deaths as rumours of witches, voodoo and zombies abound. This is a terrific blend of historical fiction, with its depiction of classic Hollywood, and chilling supernatural elements.

He sees it almost immediately, and it is a bizarre and intimidating sight: black and jagged, like some dark malignancy growing on the bleached skin of the desert. She is interrupted by the sounds of the young patrolman protesting as someone makes their way in through the main door downstairs.

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