*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Celebrities are always telling you not to believe everything you read in the press, but in my case it’s all true. Shoplifting. DUI’s. restraining orders. Community service. Interventions. Rehab. Rehab again.
Let’s just say for a young woman of twenty-three, I’ve led a full life.
I’ll spare you a rehash of all of the above because what’s the point. If you want gory details, you can always Google me. All that matters at this moment in time is that I’m sober. “One day at a time,” as they say. But that’s the thing about those twelve-step platitudes – and why I use them sincerely, without irony or apology – they really are grounded in truth. And today I’m all about truth.
I’m at a Sunday morning meeting and not just any meeting. I’ve been asked to share and it’s my first time. The church basement is small and cave-like and I’m feeling clammy. The meeting leader has one of those craggy faces that looks like it would shatter into a million pieces if he smiled. But he doesn’t smile. He just whispers into the mic in a voice so soft I almost don’t realize he’s said my name.
I make my way up to the podium and look out at about twenty-five people. It’s a typical West Hollywood crowd – film industry types, hipsters, LGBTQ, young and old, but nobody as young as me, not even close. There’s one middle-aged woman who looks familiar but I can’t quite place her. She’s beautiful, in a ravaged sort of way, and she’s staring at me. I break from her gaze and begin speaking.
“My name is Devon, and I’m a drug addict and alcoholic.”
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Devon O’Keefe, star of a popular streaming TV series Beverly Hills Banshee, is losing her grip on life and her sudden fame. When substance abuse and erratic behavior cause production of her show to come to a halt– and after burning through all of her money on drugs and legal fees– the young Midwestern transplant finds herself alone and homeless in L.A.
Enter Nikki Barnes, notorious aging child star and Hollywood survivor with her own tabloid exploits, who waylays Devon after a twelve-step program meeting. Nikki sees a younger version of herself in Devon, having battled addiction, eating disorders and the effects of personal tragedy for decades. She offers to share her decaying Laurel Canyon mansion with the troubled actress, determined to help her avoid making the same mistakes she’s made. But soon a series of mysterious and disturbing incidents occur and the two women find themselves locked in a complex and twisted relationship that spirals downward into violence.
Ladies of the Canyon explores the universal need for family and acceptance, and how a toxic environment can affect the choices we make.
A thrilling mystery set in the Hollywood hills shows the darker side of stardom and the darkness beyond the spotlights. Ladies of the Canyon gives readers an insight into the possible pressures that have hounded actors for decades, from enabling stage moms to a spiraling drug addiction, Devon is a flawed and painfully real protagonist. Along with her new friend Nikki a former child star and mentor to Devon who seems to have gone through much of what Devon has, and has the industry experience to help her younger friend through her career troubles. But despite looking like she is now doing well, the layer of grime and dirt covering her Hollywood mansion, frozen in 80’s decor, might be a sign that some troubles can never be resolved – a dark prophecy that may be in Devon’s future.
Ladies of the Canyon is a modern mystery with a timeless story. Woods writing is comfortable and assured, his storytelling bringing the reader into Devon’s life and mind, rooting for her recovery and equally bruised by her falls.
Ladies of the Canyon is a dark, thriller novella with an explosive and unexpected ending.
About the Author –
Douglas Wood writes, creates and produces children’s television for Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, NBC, Amazon, BBC, Netflix and Apple. The PBS series, Molly of Denali, for which Wood was Story Editor received a Peabody award. Wood has also been a film executive for Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment as well as several major Hollywood studios. He began his career in entertainment as an actor in Chicago where he appeared at Steppenwolf and the Goodman Theatre. He was a member of the Second City National Touring Company and the Fine Line comedy duo, which appeared at the Comedy Store, The Improv and The Motown Revue with Smokey Robinson, an NBC series for which Wood was also a writer. He lives in Topanga Canyon in the Santa Monica mountains outside of L.A. with his wife and two cats. Ladies of the Canyon is his first novel.
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