PERFORMING ARTS

A Murder in Hollywood: The Untold Story of Tinseltown’s Most Shocking Crime

Sourcebooks Feb. 2024. 277p. ISBN 9781728276502. $27.99. CRIME
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Superfans of the Golden Age of Hollywood will know all about actress Lana Turner and the 1958 death of her mobster boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato. Turner’s 14-year-old daughter, Cheryl, confessed to stabbing Stompanato because of the abuse she witnessed when her mother tried to break up with him. Journalist/screenwriter Sherman (Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod) reopens this famous case and its subsequent trial, however, to examine whether Cheryl really did kill Stompanato and how much of a role Turner played in the case. What readers may not know is how entrenched the actress was in the Los Angeles gangland of the 1950s. Fans of Hollywood true crime will discover that mob boss Mickey Cohen shares star billing in this crime saga, and the book is as much about the history of the West Coast mob as it is about Turner. Sherman is clearly a Turner fan. He calls her a “feminist hero and pioneer” who managed to take back her own life in Hollywood, where masculine toxicity and violence against women were prevalent.
VERDICT A well-researched and new take on one of Hollywood’s most notorious mysteries. True-crime fans and celebrity mavens will enjoy.
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