All That Glitters, by Michael Murphy – Review

About the book All That Glitters All That Glitters

Publisher: Alibi (January 6, 2015)
Pages: 266

In Michael Murphy’s rollicking new Jake & Laura mystery, the hard-boiled writer and the aspiring movie star head for sun-drenched Los Angeles, where a cold-blooded murderer lurks behind the scenes.

Just arrived from New York, Broadway actress Laura Wilson is slated to star in Hollywood’s newest screwball comedy. At her side, of course, is Jake Donovan, under pressure to write his next mystery novel. But peace and quiet are not to be had when an all-too-real murder plot intrudes: After a glitzy party, the son of a studio honcho is discovered dead from a gunshot wound. And since Jake exchanged words with the hothead just hours before his death, the bestselling author becomes the LAPD’s prime suspect.

In 1930s Tinseltown, anything goes. Proving his innocence won’t be easy in a town where sex, seduction, and naked power run rampant. With gossip columnist Louella Parsons dead-set on publicizing the charges against him, Jake has no choice but to do what everyone else does in the City of Angels: act like someone else. Blackie Doyle, the tough-talking, fist-swinging, womanizing hero from Jake’s novels wouldn’t pull any punches until he exposed the real killer—nor will Jake, to keep the role of a lifetime from being his last.

Buy, read, and discuss All That Glitters

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About the author, Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy is a full-time writer and part-time urban chicken rancher. He lives in Arizona with his wife of more than forty years and the four children they adopted this past year. He’s active in several local writers’ groups and conducts novel-writing workshops at bookstores and libraries.


My Thoughts:

I loved Michael Murphy’s first Jake & Laura mystery, The Yankee Club, so when I was offered the chance to review the sequel, All That Glitters, I didn’t have to think about it before I said yes.

I had so much fun reading this book. First, Jake Donovan and Laura Wilson are fantastic characters, and feel so real and alive that every word they utter feels like it’s crackling with energy. I especially love that Laura slips in and out of different characters when the situation calls for it – I do that myself, and it’s always nice to know I’m not the only one.

As well, the ages-old friendship between the two lead characters has matured into a grown-up kind of love, and seeing them navigate their deepening relationship at the same time that Jake is attempting to balance writing his novel, polishing someone else’s screenplay, and helping to solve a case he’s sort of a suspect in, while Laura is learning how to transition from stage actress to screen star is both funny and poignant.

The setting of 1930’s Hollywood is the perfect backdrop for such bigger-than-life characters (seriously, why isn’t someone making a series, or series of films out of these books?) and the supporting cast feels like it came right out of a David O. Selznick production. Annabelle, the female LAPD chief who is competent at work and incompetent at relationships is one of my favorite noir women, ever, but everyone else has their moment in the spotlight as well, and no one feels cheated.

Of course, Murphy’s got the mystery part of the novel perfect as well, and kept me guessing ‘whodunnit’ nearly to the end of the book, but while his plots are always well-crafted what I really love is that he acknowledges the pop culture of the day. (Part of the reason Jake is asked to polish that script is because Dashiel Hammett recommended him, after all, and Jack Benny teases him about buying dinner for Louella Parsons whom he ‘just met.’)

It’s this richness of setting and character that makes Murphy’s novels really work for me, and I’m eagerly awaiting book three, because hanging out with Jake and Laura for a few hundred pages is always vastly entertaining, though I must not forget to add that I love the way he continues to address contemporary issues (the economy, racism) in his historical pieces.

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore (or it’s website) and buy All That Glitters today, because while all that glitters may not, actually, be gold, Michael Murphy’s novels absolutely are.

Goes well with Authentic Mexican food and a cold bottle of Negro Modelo beer.


Michael Murphy’s TLC Book Tours Tour Stops:TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a blog tour organized by TLC Book Tours. For the complete list of tour stops, see below. For more information, click HERE.

Saturday, December 27th: Vic’s Media Room – Review of Book 1, The Yankee Club

Monday, January 5th: Omnimystery News – author guest post

Tuesday, January 6th: Reading Reality

Wednesday, January 7th: The Book Binder’s Daughter

Thursday, January 8th: Joyfully Retired

Friday, January 9th: The Reader’s Hollow

Monday, January 12th: Mystery Playground

Tuesday, January 13th: A Book Geek

Tuesday, January 13th: Vic’s Media Room

Thursday, January 15th: Dwell in Possibility

Friday, January 16th: Fiction Zeal

Monday, January 19th: Open Book Society

Monday, January 19th: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, January 21st: Lilac Reviews

Monday, January 26th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, January 26th: Psychotic State Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 27th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, January 28th: The Discerning Reader

Thursday, January 29th: Mom in Love with Fiction

Friday, January 30th: Laura’s Booklist

Date TBD: Read a Latte

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 All That Glitters, by Michael Murphy – Review by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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