Only the Dead Know Burbank: A Novel

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Maddy Ulm is a legend in Hollywood. The Phantom Girl of Stage 28. The Vampire Girl of Universal City. But what is her story? How did she transform from a victim of the Spanish flu in Europe to a creative force of nature in Hollywood?

Only the Dead Know Burbank sounds like a tongue-in-cheek romp through Hollywood history, but it’s far more than that. It’s a journey through the 20th century, both historically and cinematically, as a newcomer to the system, a purist, bucks the system while staying true to her artistic ideals. Steeped in melancholy, the novel — using Maddy as our lens — allows the reader to ponder the internal lives and thoughts of the famed Universal monsters, bringing them to life in unexpected ways.

The juxtaposition of Maddy’s dour passion and the humor and heart of Boris Karloff makes their friendship the highlight of the novel, but that’s far from the only noteworthy moment Only the Dead Know Burbank has to offer. This is an unusually poignant melding of horror and Hollywood, one that lingers with you after the last page is done.


Reviewed By:

Author Bradford Tatum
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 400 pages
Publisher Harper Perennial
Publish Date 2016-Oct-18
ISBN 9780062428752
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue March 2017
Category Historical Fiction
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