I love Los Angeles, especially when reading about the city’s sometimes notorious past. S. R. Mallery loves LA, too, because when she writes about the period between two world wars, the words pour out, creating a landscape you can see and almost touch. In All Those Masks, she’s got her work cut out for her, taking on Hollywood, corrupt policemen, and the Klan. And she succeeds beautifully.
Detective fiction requires a body. In All Those Masks, it’s a Jewish journalist who is found brutally murdered. And all signs point to the local chapter of the Klan. As Frank Lozano and his team investigate, the author takes us on a dizzying jalopy ride that introduces us to speakeasies, movie stars, a vicious police captain, and a bevy of side characters with colorful backgrounds.
If you enjoy fast-paced historical fiction with strong female characters, splashes of humor, and romance, I heartily recommend this book. Careful, though. You might just fall in love with Los Angeles, too.
In 1927, Private Eye Frank Lozano is on a mission. After he left the corrupt Los Angeles police department, he had formed his own detective agency, and with his two fellow sleuths, a grammar-correcting secretary, and a beautiful, yet quirky researcher who makes his heartbeats soar, he looks forward to handling cases the way he thinks is best.
Then he encounters true evil. A murder that is most probably linked to either to the Klan—still alive in Southern California—or Chicago mobsters is bad enough. But when his secretary’s husband is wrongfully arrested and put in jail for the slaying, Frank and his cohorts go on the warpath to put the true killer in jail.
Much like this series’ Prequel, Trouble In Glamour Town, film stars float in and out. Here, we are introduced to the famous film idol, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, wrongfully accused of rape and murder, as well as Harold Lloyd, and Charlie Chaplin. Also surrounding the case are two of the very first policewomen in the country: Los Angeles’ Alice Stebbins Wells and New York’s undercover detective, Mary Sullivan.
Bottom line: Will this eclectic team find out who the true killer is before he—or she—lands another victim?