Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: Hollywood Noir by Jeff Mariotte

Title: Hollywood Noir (Angel Tie-in series)
Author: Jeff Mariotte
Publisher: Pocket Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Inc.
Publication Date: January 1st, 2001
Genre: TV Tie-in, Horror, Mystery

Pages: 292 (Softcover)
How I came upon this book: I've had it on my shelf since the day it came out.

Summary: 'At a Hollywood construction site, a decayed corpse is the harbinger of a supernatural evil, while at Angel Investigations, Doyle's latest vision leads him to a puzzling address.  He, Angel, and Cordelia start tracking down the real McCoy: a cigarette girl named Betty McCoy.  But they're not the only ones to do so.  There's a new PI in town -- Mike Slade -- who dresses and acts as though entrenched in the era when lounge singers, swing dancing, and martinis first made the Hollywood night scene.  The golden age of the silver screen. Tinseltown.  

Still, Mike's agenda is thoroughly modern -- he has a long-standing bone to pick with local officials.  Now Angel and his team find that their research leads them directly to Slade, and some files that are strictly L.A. Confidential.  But what do a cigarette girl, a water commissioner, and a slew of disappearing demons have in common?' - Pocket Books summary

Hollywood Noir is the sixth book in the tie-in series to the television of show, 'Angel'.  Written by Jeff Mariotte, who is an established writer in the 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' tie-in novels, this book is everything a mystery fan, and fan of the show wants in a book.  Action, romance, horror, sadness; the emotions throughout this book are constantly changing.

Set in the way beginning of series one of the show, this book starts off right into the action, and doesn't stop.  For those of you unfamiliar with the TV show 'Angel', the show is basically about a vampire with a soul, who was once one of the worst vampires in history, but due to a gypsy curse, he gained his soul back, and has since been making amends.  Set as a spin-off of the show, 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', 'Angel' brings back the old school noir from past Hollywood films (no pun intended to the book itself).  With the help of his friends Cordelia Chase, and Doyle, a half-demon who ends up with a direct link to the 'Powers that Be', who in turn send him visions of people in trouble, Angel and his team fight, and protect the innocent via their PI firm, 'Angel Investigations'.

The book starts off with Doyle having a vision, just a name and a few numbers, Betty McCoy, 20047 Sunset, number 819.  With just though few things, Angel and his team go to work, trying to find out who this mysterious Betty McCoy really is.  One top of that, they also have to deal with Mike Slade, a man claiming to be a PI who dresses like he's in the 50's, and who is also looking for Betty McCoy.

The whole tone of the book is dark, and it's a nice set up to the ending.  Where most TV-tie in books tend to skim out on characterization of the characters, simply because they probably feel like those reading the books already know the characters from the show, Jeff Mariotte has a special ability to write these books for people who have not even seen the show itself.

One thing that bugged me during the book though was actually the character of Mike Slade.  While the author gave us a full background of him later on in the book, when he was introduced to us, he was sort of just there, and his obsession with a certain thing (telling you would give the whole plot away), was almost grating.  His quick handedness was also another thing that tended to get out of hand.  Though later in the book, I felt as if the author knew that his character was a little outrageous, and toned it down.

I recommend this book for people who are not just fans of vampires, or fans of the show to read this one, especially if you like a good old fashioned mystery.  It really leads to a great ending, which in turn will make you either want to watch the show, or pick up the next book in the series.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

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