Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Jean Harlow Bombshell - A Review


The First Classic Star Biography Mystery

Charlotte Donovan has worked for Justine Turner for years, helping her to write biographies of stars, primarily classic film stars. Suffering from Lyme disease, Charlotte is content to remain in the background, researching from her family home on Cloister Island and coming into New York City only when necessary. Justine demands Charlotte meet her immediately complaining about the "Harlow kooks", but before Justine can tell her what's going on she dies. Now Charlotte must step into the limelight to finish the Jean Harlow biography, but will doing so put her in the crosshairs of a murderer?

Do we ever really know someone? This first Classic Star Biography Mystery looks at the things that make people tick. From rabid collectors to the primary characters to Jean Harlow herself, Mollie Cox Bryan uncovers the motivation and psychological makeup that drive people.

Charlotte Donovan is a troubled protagonist. She's unique as she has Lyme disease, which affects her abilities both physically and mentally at times. While I felt this was an interesting trait, it was mentioned almost ad nauseum throughout the entire book. Every single time her actions were impacted, Lyme disease was mentioned as the reason. Readers should have been given more credit for being able to surmise this fact and not be continually told. Charlotte is also influenced by a troubled upbringing, a father who abandoned the family while she was young, an alcoholic mother, and a somewhat controlling grandmother. With an affinity for police officers and one night stands, Charlotte shuns romantic relationships. There's a dark atmosphere to the book, which could almost be described as Noir light. There is an intriguing mystery, a bit of psychological drama, and the lure of research driving the plot. I was fascinated by descriptions of Club Circe, Justine's apartment, and the details about Jean Harlow.

THE JEAN HARLOW BOMBSHELL is a mystery of a different color. Featuring a damaged protagonist, it takes a harsh look at the realities of life while exploring and protecting the past.

1 comment: