Title: Fallen Star
Author: Allison Morse
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
ISBN: 978-1-5092-0872-2
Pages: 396
Genre: Contemporary Gothic Mystery

Reviewed by:  Lisa Brown-Gilbert

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Author Allison Morse artfully submerges her readers into the intriguingly murky depths of her modern Gothic novel, Fallen Star. A twisted and entangled mystery, set in 1970’s Hollywood, this book turned out to be an intensely satisfying read that immediately drew me into the curious world of the resilient and determined, Kate Bloom, the story’s protagonist, who staunchly defies the often portrayed image of the helpless ingénue usually found in Gothic novels.

Although, haunted by an uncomfortable past and the lingering mystery of her famous grandmother’s murder, film student Kate Bloom has a lot going on for her. She’s young, beautiful, talented, spirited and bears an uncannily striking resemblance to her grandmother, beautiful screen siren, Gloria Reardon. However, looks, is where the similarities end between Kate and her grandmother. Kate wants to make an indelible mark in Hollywood as a filmmaker and not as a sexy film star.

As fate would have it, Kate discovers a lost movie reel from the night her grandmother was murdered, over thirty years ago. It was a baffling crime that was never completely resolved leaving behind hard feelings and unanswered questions. The discovery of the reel sets into motion unexpected changes in Kate’s life including her own self- realization.

Finding herself faced with the opportunity of a lifetime, Kate works with fellow filmmaker and film restoration expert Dylan Nichols to immediately restore the film. With the two working together, a slow burning romance begins to smolder between Kate and Dylan, forcing Kate to confront the pervading social and sexual issues in her life. While working on the film, Kate discovers startling evidence in the restored film, pertaining to her grandmother’s murder leading her to become an amateur sleuth and placing herself in danger.

I found Fallen Star to be a distinctively well-written and entertaining read, rich with atmosphere and complexity. The elements of intrigue, romance and the paranormal were nicely built into the story, with each theme holding its own as the story progressed. I particularly enjoyed the many eerily spine-tingling moments in the story as the paranormal element in the book played out.

Overall, author Alison Morse tells a captivating story, with intricate but likable characters. I especially liked Kate. She was a relatable, strong and yet simultaneously a vulnerable character, which I found genuinely appealing. I definitely recommend Fallen Star; it makes for a great summer read.