Title: The Matinee Idol
Author: Owen Keehnen
Publisher: Out Tales Publishing
Release Date: December 14, 2016
Page Count: 183
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
In 1925, Raymond leaves Iowa to come to Hollywood to become a silent film star. At a wild beach party, he meets Brick, the ruggedly handsome Montana cowboy of his dreams. The two quickly fall in love and move in together. When his career takes off, Raymond must choose between stardom and Brick. Ambition trumps love, but Ray’s regrets undermine the career he sacrificed Brick for. A decade later, Raymond is reunited with Brick in the most unlikely of ways and must make that difficult choice once again.
The Matinee Idol is a fictional look back at Hollywood of the 1920s when many would-be stars left their small towns with dreams of making it big in silent pictures. Brick comes to Hollywood from Montana while Ray leaves the cows and cornfields of Iowa and from the moment they meet, Ray senses something magical, something that feels like destiny.
But Ray chooses his career over Brick and before too long he’s a box office star taking doctor-prescribed opiates “to help [him] relax and give a more natural performance” and amphetamines “to give his performance ‘pep’ and to keep him working eighteen-hour days.” When he falls from his matinee-idol pedestal, Ray falls hard ending up destitute and willing to do anything to survive and at this point in his life, Ray reconnects with Brick.
The plot is an intriguing mix of melodrama and Hollywood gossip plus sizzling chemistry and hot sex, but what really gives the story its heart is the love between Ray and Brick and the strength to forgive and heal.
“Falling down is just a part of life. The wrong part comes from not getting back up.”
I give The Matinee Idol a solid 4 stars and recommend it especially to anyone interested in vintage Hollywood stars in the era of the Big Studios.
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