PLAYLAND by John Gregory Dunne - FIRST EDITION BOOK
Playland is a tough, mordantly funny, splendidly layered novel about Hollywood in the 1940s and America in the 1990s, about fame and its excesses, honor and personal betrayal, and a fifty-year search for what may or may not be the truth.
At its center is Blue Tyler, a spoiled, untamed child star who disappeared from Hollywood in disgrace when she was twenty and reappeared forty-five years and eleven marriages later as a mysterious bag lady in a trailer park outside Detroit. "Everyone living or dead seemed to have an opinion about Blue Tyler," observes Jack Broderick, the screenwriter-narrator of Playland. "Genius. Whore. Iconoclast. Madwoman. Liar. Free spirit." Winner of an Academy Award at ten, and the sole survivor of the 1942 plane crash that took the life of Carole Lombard, she had seemed blessed with luck and accountable to no one. It was her willfulness that attracted the gangster Jacob King, whose murderous history and volcanic furies satisfied Blue's every need to flout convention. Jack Broderick accidentally rediscovers Blue Tyler and begins seeking answers to questions unasked for decades. The clues lead him to a vibrant assortment of characters: Maury Ahearne, a sinister Detroit homicide cop; Schlomo Buchalter, an eighty-four-pound retired hit man dying of cancer; Morris Lefkowitz, the furrier king of organized crime; Meta Dierdorf, Blue's childhood friend whose murder is still unsolved fifty years after the fact; the mogul J. F. French; and the two caretakers of Blue's reputation, J. F.'s son, Arthur, and Chuckie O'Hara, a homosexual film director, war hero, ex-communist, and namer of names before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Together they hold the key to the mystery of Blue Tyler. Where had she been in the half century since she vanished? Who would profit from her past and her uncertain future? How much of what she, Arthur French, and Chuckie O'Hara remembered could be believed? These questions and their harsh and often conflicting