Title: Dead Celebrities
Author: Christopher Calix
Publisher: Lethe Press
Characters: Carter Calhoun, Sam Madison, Grant Stephens, Lana
Carter Calhoun was once a Hollywood legend, an agent both loved and loathed by stars and studio executives alike. But then the suicide of his lover and star client, matinee idol Sam Madison, sent Carter to the bottom of the bottle. Carter became a housebound recluse. Now, years later, new evidence reveals Sam may have been murdered and Carter emerges from seclusion to find his killer. The hunt will take him from the soundstages of Hollywood to a trailer park in Malibu to the mansions of Bel Air. Carter, struggling against addiction and bouts of agoraphobia, must navigate through a new and unfamiliar world where anyone can be famous and everyone has an agenda–and a secret. For Carter, solving Sam’s murder offers hope of redemption–as long as he can stay alive.
First, let me say what this novel is and then what it isn’t. This story reminded me of film Noir and the Black Dahlia murder. It’s set in Hollywood/Los Angeles, and involves the death of a young movie star, ala, James Dean, although without the car. Also like Dean, our young star, Sam Madison is a bi-sexual leaning gay man character.
This is a whodunit story. It is a fairly well thought out plot which has its twists and turns and just when you’ve figured out who “done it,” you find your close, but no potato. Dead Celebrities also is pretty realistic about the movie system in as far as how it chews up and spits out young talent after a brief shot to stardom and even quicker crash to earth. It drags in places when the storyline sets on Carter, but for the most part moves along.
What this story is not, is a male/male romance with a HEA ending. In fact, the brief relationship that is described is pretty miserable and the object of desire is pretty used and sad. This is not a book to read if you’re looking for romance. But if a decent detective story is what you seek, get “Dead Celebrities.”
Reviewed by Patrick St. James
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