The Pictures by Guy Bolton



I have recently started picking up more crime novels and one of my book club reads for this month was a crime novel set in 1930’s Los Angeles. I enjoy historical novels so was interested in reading a crime thriller set in a different era, and in The Pictures by Guy Bolton we see how sinister events unfold in Hollywood…

The story begins with a grisly discovery as a young woman is found brutally murdered in her bed in West Hollywood. And it soon becomes clear that something sinister is underway – the way the victim and her possessions have been left don’t quite add up. But for detective Jonathan Craine, this is a case he wants to close as soon as possible. Craine is a Hollywood studio fixer, concerned with limiting the damage caused when events take place which could threaten the lives and reputations of those he works for. So he has his work cut out when a producer is also found dead, as he tries to protect his widow, a beloved actress, from the scrutiny of the press. However, as Craine tries to put the cases to bed, a colleague comes along who is determined to get to the truth. And when Craine himself becomes involved in a violent altercation, he begins to realise that all is not as it seems, and the circumstances surrounding the tragic deaths are even darker and deeper than he thought…

From the mystery surrounding the deaths to the exposure of the sordid goings on within Hollywood I found The Pictures to be a gripping story that had plenty of twists and turns along the way. And as I read on I discovered that there were so many more layers to the story, and so many different people involved. This raised questions over who could be trusted, as the reader begins to piece together the details as Craine and his colleagues unravel a web of secrets and lies. I also enjoyed the character development within this novel. In the early stages of the book I disliked Craine for his attitude and the way in which he would seemingly brush serious incidents under the carpet to protect reputations ahead of the truth. This is in stark contrast to O’Neill, a young colleague devoted to fighting for the truth. And this is one of the ways in which Craine evolves throughout the story, as he begins to see the showbiz world in a new light, and reflects on what is most important in his life. As Craine battles with his own demons and tries to make sense of his troubling memories there was plenty of action along the way as the true extent of the crimes is gradually revealed. This included the involvement of a crime syndicate, prostitution and some photographs which certain people wish could stay hidden. The 1930’s Hollywood setting also added to the atmosphere of the novel and provided an interesting perspective on the darker side of show business.

I really enjoyed The Pictures and found it to be a story which kept me hooked till the end with its well paced plot and fascinating cast of characters – an impressive crime debut!

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