Ace Atkins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Quinn Colson novels, the first two of which--The Ranger and The Lost Ones--were nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel (he also has a third Edgar nomination for his short story, "Last Fair Deal Gone Down"). In addition, he is the author of several New York Times bestselling novels in the continuation of Robert B. Parker's Spenser series. Before turning to fiction, he was a correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times, a crime reporter for the Tampa Tribune, and, in college, played defensive end for the undefeated Auburn University football team (for which he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated). He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
On a September night in 1921, the silent film star Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle and friends were throwing a party at which a guest, Virginia Rappe, mysteriously died. Arbuckle was accused of Rappe's rape and murder, and Dashiell Hammett, then a Pinkerton detective, was hired to ferret out the truth. The tubercular Hammett managed to bring light to the case, much in the style of his later protagonists. Atkins refashions historical events into a compelling mystery, and Dick Hill creates excellent emphasis and stress through his tone and delivery. His male characters sound authentic, but female voices prove difficult for Hill, who relies on shrillness to convey femininity. A Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 9). (Apr.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
In September 1921, silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was tried for the murder of budding actress Virginia Rappe after a wild, boozy bash at a San Francisco hotel. The case was particularly notorious because William Randolph Hearst unleashed the full force of his media empire on it, allegedly tainting evidence and claiming Arbuckle crushed Rappe under his immense weight. A key private investigator for Arbuckle was none other than a young Pinkerton agent named Sam Dashiell Hammett, who turned up much more than a botched police investigation and an unethical autopsy. On the margin of the case was a web of Hollywood intrigue and corruption worthy of its own scandal, fueled by the looming demise of the silent film and Hearst's desire to preserve mistress Marian Davies's acting career. Atkins's (Wicked City) latest noir historical thriller showcases one of the most infamous Hollywood murder trials with a compelling style and a deft blend of fact and fiction. Sure to appeal to Hollywood buffs and mystery readers alike, this is recommended for popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 12/08.]-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Praise for Devil's Garden
"A remarkable book that succeeds on every level. As a riveting detective story, it is great entertainment. As a historical novel, it transports the reader. Atkins' prose, at once muscular and lyrical, is good from the first sentence to the last. He has solidified his place alongside Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos as one of our most important literary crime novelists."--San Francisco Chronicle
"With enviable ease, Atkins brings to life Hammett, Arbuckle, William Randolph Hearst and other real figures of the period. Those familiar with the historical case will be impressed by how well the book meshes fact and fiction. Genre fans who enjoy the grim realism of James Ellroy's post-WWII Los Angeles will find a lot to like in Atkins's Prohibition-era San Francisco."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Atkins artfully recreates California in the 1920s....An utterly engrossing mystery in which the getting there is as satisfying, if not more so, than the reveal."--Historical Novel Society
"Atkins doesn't just throw real-life facts into his novel; he skillfully weaves them into a suspense-laden story that serves as a look at the early film industry, an homage to Hammett and his Maltese Falcon, and a valentine to San Francisco of the 1920s. Even if Devil's Garden has the reader racing to the Web to learn about the real case, Atkins' gritty take on the era is riveting."--The Baltimore Sun