The Hollywood Version
Title : The Hollywood Version
Author : Harry K. Malone
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 244 pages (e-book)
Published : May 10, 2013
Mark Lawler has always imagined the world as a movie. With his overactive imagination, he can’t help equating life and art. Currently, he’s living the dream: successful actor, beautiful wife, and he works with his best friend, television heartthrob Zach Pericles. The problem is a certain contingent of fans are convinced Mark and Zach are really in love.
When a compromising photo of them leaks to the press, Mark’s life spins out of control. The show’s executive producer plans to kill off Mark’s character, and Mark faces unemployment and life as a single man. He turns to Ross Lockhart, an old acquaintance, to help him pick up the pieces.
Ross has to be the most frustrating man Mark’s ever known, but he’s levelheaded and wise for his years, and Mark envies the honest life he leads. Maybe Ross can teach Mark a thing or two about finding his own happily ever after.
This is the mostly up, sometimes down, yet always engaging, story of a Midwestern boy who finds fame in Hollywood before he has truly found himself. I enjoyed this story and its’ somewhat unique take on celebrity.
From what I could determine, this is the first published story by the author. He’s off to a good start.
This is a character driven story, which centers on Mark, a charismatic and likeable guy from Minnesota, who bypassed college to pursue a modeling career. Mark eventually makes his way to Hollywood, finds himself on a popular TV series and ends up in a bromance with his co-star, Zach.
Early in his Hollywood days, Mark meets an actress, Alex (Allesandra), who takes an immediate interest in him, and his impending success. The two marry. She proves to be married more to his career, his bank account and his fans than she was to him. She never misses a chance to tweet or post on Facebook about what they are doing, where they are going, or who they’ve been partying with. Alex seems to thrive on the media and fan speculation that Mark and Zach may be “more than friends”. Mark seems closer to Zach than he is to Alex, who on the surface, seems fine with this dynamic. He is not egotistical and has virtually no “star attitude”. Oh he enjoys the money, the perks, the huge ritzy house, the beautiful wife, yet he maintains being an ordinary guy at his core. Mark is existing in a comfortable bubble of denial. What he doesn’t realize is that he needs to dig down and find the “real Mark” again. He gets there, but unfortunately it involves a rough road of being used, and discovering dark truths about himself, others, and Tinseltown.
I really liked how the author had me wondering how and when Mark’s relationship with Zach was going to possibly coalesce into something more concrete, only to blam!.. be hit with something (or rather, someone) from left field. Very good!! Mark meets Ross, someone he went to high school with and who is also working in Hollywood now. Through Ross, Mark proceeds to discover how his success doesn’t need dictate that he fit into some pre-conceived ideal. He finds his way back to his roots and his true self.
I love that Mark always retains the core essence of who he is. He’s faithful to his wife. While he does “party”, he never gets sloppy drunk, doesn’t OD, doesn’t whore around, doesn’t develop a mile wide ego, doesn’t develop a “wild child” or “diva” reputation. While the story portrays people using other people, it doesn’t get dark or overly angsty. The on page sex is minimal, which works just fine. The author gifts us with some really great dialogue, especially between Mark and Ross. I love when two people actually communicate and work on figuring out what needs to happen!
I would have preferred less time spent on the build-up of the Zach, Alex and Mark dynamic, and more time exploring Mark’s feelings regarding the revelations he encountered from Zach and Ross. I certainly don’t expect people to label themselves, however I was left unsure as to whether Mark considered himself gay and in denial, or bi, or what. More insight to his inner dialogue would have been welcome. I also found myself wishing for more of an in-depth exploration of just how badly Mark must have felt to be played by people that he was so attached to, and emotionally reliant on. In the same vein, once he made his choices, what were all of the repercussions? How did his fans react? How did his next career project turn out? How is life as an openly gay man? Happily, the author does promise a short follow up on his blog, so these questions may get some answers then!
I will be looking for the promised follow-up short on the author’s blog, and would be interested in his future works.
One last notation. I love cover art, always notice it, and consider it important in enticing potential readers. Unfortunately I find the cover of this book is actually a big turn off.
Rated 3.5 stars by Dianne