Hollywood Lies takes you into the seamy underbelly of the glitzy and glamourous patina that is the Hollywood we mere mortals don’t see up close and personal. It is very similar to the tabloid accounts that line the shelves of grocery store checkout lanes, Hollywood insider TV shows and celebrity blogs. In fact, parts of the story felt as if they were ripped from recent headlines: unassuming young star is “discovered” by a successful older female director, whose decision to cast him in a hot new YA movie series make him into an overnight sensation. Devon goes from being a truly starving artist to being a star.
What makes this story better than the run-of-the-mill story about a star being born, is the fact that the director isn’t fabricating a career for him because she’s had her wicked way with him on the casting couch. He truly is a talented actor who has something to offer to the masses, but he isn’t as ready as he thought he was to navigate the murky waters of super stardom. They embark upon an affair which is fraught with all the issues one might expect for the May-December couple. As a younger and idealistic man, Devon wants to have a real relationship with this icon that he grew up idolizing in the industry. She’s a truly tortured soul who’s been through all the ups and downs and knows all the ins and outs of tinsel town, and has lived through an horrific twenty-four hours of victimization in her past that has left her truly wounded. Devon doesn’t understand Cole’s reluctance to authenticate their relationship to the world.
When a clause in his contract requires Devon and the young starlet, Liliana, from the YA movie series to have an off-screen romance, Devon naively believes it will be the perfect foil to cloak his true relationship with Colette or Cole. His inability to see himself as her equal, and a miscommunication during an act of intimacy creates a rift in their relationship they aren’t able to work through. Thrust into his new manufactured proximity to his movie co-star, Liliana, a relationship develops between them, which Devon believes is the answer to his dissatisfaction and eventual demise of his relationship with Cole.
The young Liliana wants the visibility and the attention of the Paparrazi with the same vehemence that Cole abhorred it. At first Devon finds this refreshing, but when he learns just how much Lili wants the fame and notoriety–to the utter detriment of their relationship, he begins to yearn for the truth he’d found, and had taken for granted in Cole. As another ripped from the headlines situation occurs, Devon yearns to step out of the spotlight to decompress and allow the professionals he was encouraged to hire by Cole to do their work and spin the disaster that threatens to derail his acting career. When he does, he receives assistance from the most unlikely of places, and perhaps an opportunity for a second chance.
As emotionally exhausting as the sex was (almost) physically exhausting, Hollywood Lies, deals with some real issues that actors in each of their places in life might experience in this situation. From Devon’s early hookup with the Assistant, Julie, who sells her boss out because of jealousy to the situation of Devon calling his sanity into question when he knows intuitively that his relationship with Liliana is in serious jeopardy, this story was rich with true-to-life conflict. In my opinion, Devon and Cole were better and more completely drawn characters than Liliana. I found it difficult to connect with her, possibly because she was introduced early on but then left out of the storyline so long, when she was reintroduced it was hard to play catch-up and establish the type of rapport with her we were privy to with Cole and Devon. Lili came across as shallow and one-dimensional, which might have been intentional.
Overall, Hollywood Lies was a great read. It kept me engaged and wanting to figure out along the way what conflict would emerge to rock the worlds of these characters I’d grown to care about so much. I give Hollywood Lies four stars.
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In a world where make believe is a multibillion dollar industry, it’s hard to know
where the fantasy ends and real life begins. When Collette Stroud, an influential
Hollywood actor and director, takes a chance on two young actors for her romantic
teen movie, three lives converge in a complicated web of publicity, passion, lust,
The web is cast when Stroud, a woman with a few skeletons in her closet, hires
two young artists in her low-budget film. She handpicks Liliana Addison and
Devon Maddox to be Hollywood’s next big stars. Former child star Liliana has had
limited success with her previous roles but hopes to take the world by storm under
Collette’s tutelage. While Devon is an out of work actor, he never stops dreaming
about making it big. The director’s interest in him assures Devon his dreams are
about to become reality.
Sparks between Collette and Devon set their lives ablaze, but the studio has other
plans. Executives concoct a fictitious romance in order to drive box office sales
and launch careers between Devon and Liliana. When the studio offers to make the
young actors into bona fide stars, will the price be too high to pay, or will the deal
be too sweet to pass up?
Can the trio handle the pressure of a hidden romance coupled with a phony public
relationship? Will love be enough to conquer the promise of fame, fortune, and a
lasting legacy, or will it be an easy sacrifice?
All three will tread the thin line of Hollywood Lies and genuine passion on the
most important red carpet walk of their lives.
About the Author
Based in the American Midwest, N.K. Smith is a Technical Writer for a Fortune
100 company. The author of the Old Wounds Series, she is a mother of two who
finds the time to write very early in the morning when the rest of the world is still
An avid lover of history, art, music, books, and people, she is interested in telling
stories that speak to the human condition.