RAISE THE DEVIL by Terence Faherty
A SCOTT ELLIOTT MYSTERY
St. Martin's Minotaur, October 2000
Beverly Brooks, a wanna-be Marilyn Monroe, abandons the movie set where she is working and ends up in a gangster's suite in Las Vegas. Private Investigator Scott Elliott specializes in this kind of case and quickly extracts the young actress. Back on the set, things are far from settled, however. John Remlinger, the gangster, likes to string his victims up with piano wire and he isn't giving up on Brooks. Rumors of drug use just don't go away. Then a fatal plane crash kills the producer and Brooks.
Elliott can't believe the plane crash was an accident no matter what the police say. He wants to believe Remlinger is behind the problems, but Remlinger isn't the whole answer. Someone was supplying Brooks' drugs. Someone knew what was happening on the set and was communicating that knowledge to Remlinger. Elliott tries to fit everything into his model, but finds nothing but loose ends--and more dead bodies.
Set in the early 1960s (Kennedy is still president), RAISE THE DEVIL is an intriguing view into a vanishing world. The movie studios are collapsing but still have power. World War II veterans dominate society. Women remain sex objects although they are beginning to play independent roles. And American cars are unchallenged on the streets. Terence Faherty convincingly portrays this vanished world not as an idylic utopia, but as a troubled and dangerous time. Elliott is a satisfying protagonist--with his morals and beliefs in the right place, but with a trust in humanity despite his tough-guy attitude. Such trust is soon violated.
Faherty's writing moves quickly along rich in dialogue and sparse on introspection. It is easy to see why Faherty's Scott Elliott series has won the Shamus Award.
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