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The Pigtailed Heart [Kindle Edition]

Ruth Francisco
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
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  • Length: 307 pages (estimated)
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14th Deadly Sin
Third in the Women's Murder Club series: As violence sweeps through San Francisco, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends must risk their lives in the name of justice—before it's too late. Read more about authors James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book Description

In the gritty mean streets of 1940s Los Angeles, ex-detective Jack Clayton has few illusions—he knows all about L.A. corruption. Yet when the great defense lawyer Jerry Giesler asks him to track down witnesses for L.A.’s latest sensational murder trial, the murder of Doris Dazey by her husband, a prominent Hollywood doctor, he can’t resist.

As soon as he starts to investigate, people begin to die. Jack tumbles into a tangled web of deceit that takes him from the jazz dives of Central Avenue, to Venice Beach, to San Pedro, to Hollywood clubs catering to “twilight men,” and into the arms of a siren so dangerous she could set off the whole powder keg.

He uncovers a haunting parallel between the death of actress Thelma Todd and Doris Dazey, and finds connections to the L.A. crime syndicate, eugenics clinics, and international sabotage, all which threaten the pre-war efforts of the Roosevelt administration.

Based on a true criminal trial and years of research, this sweeping, rip-roaring saga lives and breathes the hardscrabble times of pre-war Los Angeles: glamour, gambling, political corruption, and the explosive appetites of a thriving young megalopolis.

Product Details

  • File Size: 627 KB
  • Print Length: 307 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00433TYKW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,183 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood's successor to Dominick Dunne September 17, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
I just love this to bits. The glamor, the sleaze, even the characters - the ones who leave before their time, just as the brightest stars often did, will live in the memory of readers because Ruth Francisco paints them so vividly with a few words, a well-turned phrase.

The author's sentences are a work of art, even where we are learning something of a neighborhood such as the sewage problems in Venice of those times. The author gives such information in a colorful fashion, flowing into how these problems affect her characters.

From the opening, it's visual, terrifying and red-raw, with an *actress* called Melody Jean, living thru a Hollywood starlet's nightmare.

Meeting George Dazey and Doris after witnessing Melody Jean's fall from grace, is smooth as churned butter - and possibly a red herring. People living those charmed lives are never what they seem on the surface. And Doris truly is one of those ethereal creatures that shone over old Hollywood. Even her dangerous foray into the night, the atmosphere of the Pier and the casino ship, all shine as brightly as she does. What she then witnesses is terrifying, but perhaps it's her ethereal light that will do her down.

We have an earthy girl in Hazel, and her scenes around Venice, whose poor she tries to help, give us her character, contrasting that of Doris. And the scenes with Doris's parents are touching, leading to the crux of the matter.

This is all so well done, so well-researched and well-written and alive with all the glitter of old Los Angeles. Ruth Francisco's work puts me in mind of the much-missed Dominick Dunne - and now we have this, and Ruth's future works to look forward to: a rising star to match those on Hollywood Boulevard.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Author Ruth Francisco delivers an intelligent, multilayered, and rapidly paced historical crime novel of 1930's Los Angeles in The Pigtailed Heart. Based on an actual criminal trial, this story swings from the courtroom, to seedy backroom gambling parlors populated by Hollywood socialites, to even more sordid political entanglements that reach far beyond the glitter and sunshine of southern California.

George Kendall Dazey is a well known doctor whose wife, the lovely yet troubled starlet Doris Dazey, dies under mysterious circumstances. The death is at first ruled a suicide, but later when Dazey remarries and seeks to claim full custody of his son from his powerful in-laws, a murder charge suddenly surfaces and Dazey's life becomes the object of unbearable scrutiny.

Former detective Jack Clayton is retrieved from a quiet life of manual labor on his family's orchards by renowned L.A. defense lawyer Jerry Geisler to investigate the charges. But what starts out to be a simple case of searching for evidence to uphold Dazey's innocence becomes something far more. Every clue leads to more questions and incriminations, as the scope of those involved becomes broader and ever more scandalous. Slowly, as Dazey's trial progresses, Jack begins to uncover a bully's playground of organized crime, political corruption, espionage and eugenics.

The Pigtailed Heart is a gripping crime thriller that will keep readers teetering on the edges of their seats and reluctant to put the book down until the very last word. Impressively detailed and impeccably researched, this story will not only hurl you back to the darker side of Hollywood's golden era, but leave your heart pounding and your palms sweaty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Historical Fiction September 18, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
Great book! I love historical stories; I try and imagine living during that time. You paint an incredible story, gritty and real. Wonderful and highly recommended!

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars crime noir September 18, 2010
By tentoes
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a true dime-store novel, a real Paperback page-turner, gritty and visceral, exposing the underbelly of Hollywood culture in 1940 SoCal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Suprise! October 6, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this novel in a Kindle discussion forum and I am so glad I did. I wasn't sure I would enjoy reading a novel set in the 1940's Hollywood area, but I loved this. The writing is excellent, the history of the Los Angeles area is facinating, the plot is well done and the characterization is excellent. From the Santa Monica Pier to Mulholland Drive, the author takes us all over the area she writes about and I could almost see everything as though she was taking me with her characters as they moved through the story. Nothing was left to chance, nothing left me wondering and the story moved along so was a real pleasure to read this story and I will certainly read more of her in the near future. What a wonderful surprise for only ninety-nine cents!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ho hum November 4, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's not a bad book. The writing is nice. It is an easy read. It's entertaining. That said it has no merit beyond passing time. The only real criticism I have is that the Actor, Carl has turned down the leads in "Casablanca" and "Maltese Falcon" this has been done in 1939. "Maltese Falcon" is a 1941 movie and "Casablanca" 1943.
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Format:Kindle Edition
Ruth Francisco's intimate introduction is sexy and seductive, fodder for the imaginations, sensual but not pornographic, oozing with potential for later drama.

That drama is not long in coming: The woman is violated, graphically. Not a nice scene at all, but one that burned its image into this reader's mind.

Well written, though not excactly "nice." '

Settings and scenery, for example the boardwalk, are well selected and well done. Beautifully executed, the rising and falling actions like one wave after another hitting the "beach." Constant tension/resolution, and expertly visualized scenes, psychological twists with wealthy but mentally ill characters; even the doctor is pathetic in his own way. Chapters that end by setting up the drama for future chapters. A good read.
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More About the Author

I tend to write novels that are a little controversial. I don't intend to, but a question grabs hold of my mind--Do we have a right to say no to medical technology? What would it be like to be Jackie Kennedy? Where is Islamic extremism taking us?--and it won't let go. I have to explore it, I have to write about it.

Since my interests are varied, my books are varied, perhaps too much so. But whatever the theme, I always explore identity, trying to reconcile the physical and spiritual worlds. My characters respond sensually to the world as I do, they question and doubt. It would be easier to be a different kind of writer maybe. I hope you get something out of my little efforts.

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