• by William J. Mann
  • Narrated by Christopher Lane
  • 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Day of the Locust meets The Devil in the White City and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in this juicy, untold Hollywood story: an addictive true account of ambition, scandal, intrigue, murder, and the creation of the modern film industry.
By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America's new favorite pastime and one of the nation's largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence; yet Hollywood's glittering ascendancy was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies - including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now.
In a fiendishly involving narrative, best-selling Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to uncover the story of the enigmatic Taylor and the diverse group of people who surrounded him - including three beautiful, ambitious actresses; a grasping stage mother; a devoted valet; and a gang of two-bit thugs, any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet. And overseeing this entire landscape of intrigue was Adolph Zukor, the brilliant and ruthless founder of Paramount Pictures, locked in a struggle for control of the industry and desperate to conceal the truth about the crime. Along the way, Mann brings to life Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties: a sparkling yet schizophrenic town filled with party girls, drug dealers, religious zealots, newly minted legends, and starlets already past their prime - a dangerous place where the powerful could still run afoul of the desperate.
A true story recreated with the suspense of a novel, Tinseltown is the work of a storyteller at the peak of his powers - and the solution to a crime that has stumped detectives and historians for nearly a century.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Everybody's a dreamer...

...and everybody's a star. So the Kinks song goes, so does this book. Excellent history of Hollywoodland and the movie business circa early 20s via a cross-section of the lives of a variety of movie folk, both high status and lowly. And there is a murder mystery to boot. The has-beens and never-weres-and-never-gonna-bes live, work, and walk among the elites and other successful players and this is the tension William Mann excellently illustrates. He makes great use of the vernacular of the times via the letters, diaries, newspapers and other contemporaneous sources. It's like reading/listening to "Day of the Locusts" by Nathaniel West. Highly recommend to fans of early Hollywood and early 20th century US history and for murder mystery buffs.
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- Steven

New info on an old case

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! It gives us a glimpse into a different era and how the heavy fisted hand of Hollywood controlled the are that is today Los Angeles, just as they did back then.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Probably Taylor himself. He remade himself and reinvented himself and was a success but who killed him will forever remain a mystery

Which character – as performed by Christopher Lane – was your favorite?

Mary Miles Minter

If you could give Tinseltown a new subtitle, what would it be?

"How little things change". Many of the things described in this book, drug abuse, abortions, suicides etc etc are still par for the course in Hollywood. Things change but stay the same.

Any additional comments?

No but it is a good book and if you are unfamiliar with the Taylor/Tanner case, it is an excellent story and one worth listening to.

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- Martin Muravyav

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-14-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.