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The Devil's Playground

A novel by

2024 CrimeFest: eDunnit Award (nominee)
2023 McIlvanney Prize (nominee)

A riveting 1920s Hollywood thriller about the making of the most terrifying silent film ever made, and a deadly search for the single copy rumored still to exist, from the internationally acclaimed author of The Devil Aspect.

"An excellent, engrossing historical horror novel."—New York Times Book Review
"Rich and riveting...a masterful thriller." —Lincoln Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Addictive." —A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window
"Totally engaging." —Kathy Reichs, author of the Temperance Brennan series

1927: Mary Rourke—a Hollywood studio fixer—is called urgently to the palatial home of Norma Carlton, one of the most recognizable stars in American silent film. Norma has been working on the secret film everyone is openly talking about... a terrifying horror picture called
The Devil’s Playground that is rumored to have unleashed a curse on everyone involved in the production. Mary finds Norma’s cold, dead body, and she wonders for just a moment if these dark rumors could be true.  

1967: Paul Conway, a journalist and self-professed film aficionado, is on the trail of a tantalizing rumor. He has heard that a single copy of
The Devil’s Playground—a Holy Grail for film buffs—may exist. He knows his Hollywood history and he knows the film endured myriad tragedies and ended up lost to time.  

The Devil's Playground is Craig Russell’s tour de force, a richly researched and constructed thriller that weaves through the Golden Age of Hollywood and reveals a blossoming industry built on secrets, invented identities, and a desperate pursuit of image. As Mary Rourke charges headlong through the egos, distractions, and traps that threaten to take her down with the doomed production, she discovers a truth far more sinister than she—or we—could have imagined.

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"Craig Russell walks a razor's edge between gothic suspense and horror. . . a masterful thriller." - Lincoln Child

"When it comes to Gothic crime, Craig Russell is peerless. Absolutely stunning." - M W Craven

"Superb! The Devil's Playground is imagination on steroids! This breathtaking tale--set against America's favorite backdrop, Hollywood--seamlessly blends noir, gothic and mystery in a way that's unique to crime fiction. Populated with a truly memorable cast, Playground is a guaranteed one-sitting read...and how can you resist a novel about the scariest movie of all time? Bravo!" - Jeffery Deaver

"Addictive. . . the most sheerly entertaining novel I've raced through in at least a year. . . fresh, forceful, elegant but wild." - A J Finn

"A blend of murder, noir, and horror set against a fascinating time-trip through Hollywood. The Devil's Playground is totally engaging." - Kathy Reichs

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