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The Devil's Playground

McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime, 2023

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349135267

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 7th March 2024

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Crime & Mystery

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‘Amazing. I’d give someone else’s right arm to write so beautifully’ Sarah Pinborough

‘Superb! The Devil’s Playground is imagination on steroids… breathtaking!’ Jeffery Deaver

‘A terrifying tale of the true power in Hollywood… (Russell’s) precise, gorgeous prose shines’ New York Times

‘A masterpiece. Captivatingly authentic, steeped in Hollywood lore’ Chris Brookmyre

‘Addictive. . . the most sheerly entertaining novel I’ve raced through in at least a year. . . fresh, forceful, elegant but wild’ A.J. Finn


‘The Devil’s Playground is definitely on the shortlist for best mystery of the year’ Bookpage.com

‘When it comes to Gothic crime, Craig Russell is peerless. Absolutely stunning’ M W Craven

FROM CWA DAGGER AND DOUBLE McILVANNEY AWARD WINNER
CRAIG RUSSELL COMES ANOTHER DARK, GRIPPING MASTERPIECE . . .

A dark, riveting thriller set in 1920s Hollywood about “the greatest horror movie ever made”, the curse said to surround it, and a deadly search, decades later, for the single copy rumoured still to exist.


1927
: Hollywood studio fixer Mary Rourke is called to the palatial home of “the most desirable woman in the world”, silent movie actress Norma Carlton, star of The Devil’s Playground. When Rourke finds Carlton dead, she wonders if the dark rumours she’s heard are true: that The Devil’s Playground really is a cursed production. But nothing in Hollywood is ever what it seems, and cynical fixer Rourke, more used to covering up the truth for studio bosses, finds herself seeking it out.

1967: Paul Conway, film historian and fervid silent movie aficionado, is on the trail of a tantalizing rumour: that a single copy of The Devil’s Playground-a Holy Grail for film buffs that was supposedly cursed and lost to time-may exist. His search takes him deep into the Mojave Desert, to an isolated hotel that hasn’t changed in forty years but harbours only one occupant-and a shocking secret.

Separated by decades, both Rourke and Conway begin to suspect that the real Devil’s Playground is in fact Hollywood itself.

Praise for The Devil’s Playground


‘Horrifying, mesmerising, beautifully imagined. The Devil’s Playground is Craig Russell at his unrivalled best’ Chris Whittaker

‘The Devil’s Playground has a depth of period detail and atmosphere that lifts it above the ordinary. It’s elegant, absorbing and thrilling’ Michael Malone

‘Totally engaging’ Kathy Reichs, New York Times bestselling author of the Temperance Brennan series

‘Brilliantly written, with repeated surprises’ The Critic

‘Seamlessly blends noir, gothic and mystery in a way that’s unique to crime fiction. Populated with a truly memorable cast, Playground is a guaranteed one-sitting read…and how can you resist a novel about the scariest movie of all time? Bravo!’ Jeffery Deaver, author of The Bone Collector

Praise for Hyde

‘Stephen King meets Robert Louis Stevenson… an imaginative gothic tale guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine the next time you walk a dark Edinburgh night’ David Hewson

‘Gloriously diabolical. A terrifying thrill ride through the hidden chasms of the human soul’ Chris Brookmyre

‘I absolutely adored it. Intense, harrowing and hugely entertaining. . . Spectacular’ Chris Whitaker

‘The story is a thrilling ride through the murky depths of madness and horror, written with all Craig’s trademark skill and style. Definitely five stars from me’ James Oswald

‘An engaging Gothic thriller full of atmosphere and surprises’ Irish Independent

‘Russell writes a pacy, ever-twisting mystery that will keep you turning the pages’ Ian Rankin


Praise for Craig Russell

‘A masterclass in suspenseful, character-driven prose fiction. Simply exceptional’
Frank Darabont, writer & director of The Shawshank Redemption & The Green Mile

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