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The Devil's Playground

On sale

8th June 2023

Price: £20

McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime, 2023

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Selected: ebook / ISBN-13: 9780349135250

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* SELECTED AS ONE OF PUBLISHERS WEEKLY‘S BEST BOOKS OF 2023 IN THE MYSTERY/THRILLER CATEGORY*

‘Superb! The Devil’s Playground is imagination on steroids… breathtaking!’ Jeffery Deaver

‘A terrifying tale of the true power in Hollywood… (Russell’s) precise, gorgeous prose shines’ New York Times

‘Addictive. . . the most sheerly entertaining novel I’ve raced through in at least a year. . . fresh, forceful, elegant but wild’ A.J. Finn


‘The Devil’s Playground is definitely on the shortlist for best mystery of the year’ Bookpage.com

‘When it comes to Gothic crime, Craig Russell is peerless. Absolutely stunning’ M W Craven

FROM CWA DAGGER AND DOUBLE McILVANNEY AWARD WINNER
CRAIG RUSSELL COMES ANOTHER DARK, GRIPPING MASTERPIECE . . .

A dark, riveting thriller set in 1920s Hollywood about “the greatest horror movie ever made”, the curse said to surround it, and a deadly search, decades later, for the single copy rumoured still to exist.


1927
: Hollywood studio fixer Mary Rourke is called to the palatial home of “the most desirable woman in the world”, silent movie actress Norma Carlton, star of The Devil’s Playground. When Rourke finds Carlton dead, she wonders if the dark rumours she’s heard are true: that The Devil’s Playground really is a cursed production. But nothing in Hollywood is ever what it seems, and cynical fixer Rourke, more used to covering up the truth for studio bosses, finds herself seeking it out.

1967: Paul Conway, film historian and fervid silent movie aficionado, is on the trail of a tantalizing rumour: that a single copy of The Devil’s Playground-a Holy Grail for film buffs that was supposedly cursed and lost to time-may exist. His search takes him deep into the Mojave Desert, to an isolated hotel that hasn’t changed in forty years but harbours only one occupant-and a shocking secret.

Separated by decades, both Rourke and Conway begin to suspect that the real Devil’s Playground is in fact Hollywood itself.

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