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Hollywood Noir opens with the discovery of a corpse in a building that's being demolished.  On the face of it, hardly an original idea.

This is followed by Angel Investigations getting a message from The Powers That Be, in the usual form of Doyle's vision (yes, this is another Angel novel set before Hero).  Only that Betty McCoy, the woman in his vision turns out to be dead.

Cordelia puts on her research hat and discovers that Betty McCoy used to work as a cocktail waitress at the Rialto Lounge.  But whereas in her day it used to attract the likes of Francis Albert Sinatra, these days the clientele is more likely to be Allen Francis Doyle.

Checking out the Rialto, Angel discovers that he's not the only person who's been there asking questions.  There was also Mike Slade, a private eye who was dressed as if he was straight out of the early sixties.

Well, naturally that's because he is, since it was Slade's body that was discovered in the prologue.  And just like Adam Adamant, Slade is a man out of his time, looking and talking like some sixties flashback, while trying to simultaneously understand what's happened in the last forty years and trying to get even with the man who sent him to his grave.

Hollywood Noir is another highly enjoyable Angel novel.  Mariotte's original characters are well-drawn, although perhaps a little more attention could have been paid to the main villain of the piece.  The regular cast are also handled well, with Cordy, Doyle and Kate Lockley getting decent slices of the action.  For large chunks, Hollywood Noir could even be a regular detective novel, although it is written better than your average potboiler.

And on a final positive note, it's nice to read an Angel novel that doesn't resort to the usual idea of a character and/or situation that reminds Angel of his past, complete with the obligatory flashback sequences.

HOLLYWOOD NOIR

Written by JEFF MARIOTTE

POCKET BOOKS

£5.99


RATING: 8/10


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