Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Brutal Illusion by Stephen Jared

The Brutal Illusion is Stephen Jared’s fourth Home Run. Like his previous novels, the story uses Hollywood as its starting point. Jared is also an actor and his abiding interest and knowledge of Hollywood history is evident in The Brutal Illusion as well as Jack and the Jungle Lion, The Elephants of Shanghai, and The Ten a Week Steale. I recommend all of Stephen’s books for fans of both classic Hollywood films and golden age pulp adventure fiction. The Brutal Illusion is a short novel, highly entertaining, and loaded with mood, history and suspense. Allyson Rockwell is a shapely young woman with a dream, and Hollywood beckons. But Tinsel Town is only part illusion, the rest of it is real, and often quite brutal. Hollywood is brutal, and when she’s on the verge of giving up and leaving Los Angeles when she meets Lenny Carsen, This Carsen fellow is in “management” which might mean he has connections – of the crooked kind. But no matter, Rockwell is soon under contract to Carl Laemmle  Jr., and she starts getting small parts in pictures. Eventually she meets Jimmy Sneed, a young screenwriter. Things start to look up for Rockwell, who has been staying with Carsten. Naturally, Carsten is not all that he seems, and slowly things being to spiral into an entirely different direction. The Brutal Illusion is a drama, and as I read it I realized that it would make a good film. That’s not unusual considering that Jared himself is an actor. All of Jared’ stories would make good films. He knows what makes for an interesting character, his dialogue is spot on, and the pacing is right. I love the historical tidbits that he sprinkled into The Brutal Illusion. Jared is highly imaginative, imminently creative, and always worth reading. I also just realized something that would be really interesting – I’d like to see Jared himself in a film adaptation of one of his books, like Mickey Spillane did with The Girl Hunters. Now that would be really cool. The Brutal Illusion is published by Solstice Publishing and is available now on

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