Monday, March 2, 2015

FFBC: Welcome to the club, Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

Dead to Me
by Mary McCoy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: March 3rd 2015
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LA Confidential for the YA audience. This alluring noir YA mystery with a Golden Age Hollywood backdrop will keep you guessing until the last page.

"Don't believe anything they say."

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her--and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn't a kid anymore, and this time she won't let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets--and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie's attacker behind bars--if Alice can find her first. And she isn't the only one looking

Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.

Every time somebody asks me this question, I give a different answer depending how I feel that day. Today, I'm feeling like it's Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.

Mad Men

The Apartment. Or The Philadelphia Story. Or possibly All About Eve.

"And Through the Wire" by Peter Gabriel

I could eat the Sour Cream Hen House rice bowl from Roy Choi's restaurant Chego every night for a very long while before I tired of it.

The Beeber Bifocal Factory from Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple; any of the sets (including her own apartment) that Emi designs in Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour; the glamorous, bohemian 19th century Paris of Elizabeth Ross’s Belle Epoque

Dunstan Ramsay from Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

"In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice...the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart

Whenever a new season of Mad Men starts, I drop absolutely everything else. I can't believe this is the last season. I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself when it’s over.

I'd love to shake Maria Semple's hand. Her books are ambitious and hilarious and I love them.

Hello Mary! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.

Alice always idolized her big sister, Annie. Annie was the pretty one, the talented one, the one who sang at fancy Hollywood parties and was going to be a big movie star once she got her screen test. But then, right when Annie was about to get her break, she ran away from home and disappeared into the streets of Los Angeles. Now it’s 1948, and Alice gets a phone call that her sister has turned up in the County Hospital, beaten almost to death.

Alice vows to find her sister’s attacker, but her investigation leads her into seedy places and up against shady characters. There was nothing random about the attack on Annie - she was mixed up in something big, and if the word gets out, it could bring down some of the most powerful people in Hollywood.

The book is set in 1948 Hollywood, and it’s populated by the kinds of people you’d expect to see in a noir - femme fatales, dirty cops, tough-talking private eyes - but I tried to put some different spins on all those familiar characters.

I was inspired by the television show, Veronica Mars, and the movie, Brick. I love the idea of noir in a high school setting.

It’s the last line of the book, so I can’t really share it here!

There are two important scenes that take place at Musso & Frank Grill, which is the quintessential old Hollywood restaurant. Humphrey Bogart used to get thrown out of it all the time. I went there a couple of times for research purposes while I was writing, partly because it’s such an old-school cool place and partly because I kept trying to get a look inside the kitchen. Which I very sneakily managed!

"Over the Rainbow" as sung by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. There's this part in the movie where Judy Garland says, "I don't think there's anything in that black bag for me," and it just kills me every time. The tone in her voice when she says it, that’s Alice in a nutshell.

My friend, fellow debut author Michelle Levy (Not After Everything), is also a very talented casting director, and she gave me some brilliant suggestions for this! I especially loved her suggestion for Conrad Donahue, the vile, violent psychopathic movie star. In my head, the character looked sort of like Montgomery Clift, circa 1949, but I like Michelle’s idea better! We did have a difference of opinion over Jerry Shaffer, the tough-talking private eye. I know she’s right (because she’s always right about this stuff), but I love the idea of Jon Hamm playing a private eye gone to seed.

Alice Gates: Abigail Breslin

Annie Gates: Saoirse Ronan

Jerry Shaffer: Jon Hamm (my pick)/Joel Edgerton (Michelle’s pick)

Ruth: Jennifer Carpenter

Cy: Josh Hutcherson

Conrad Donahue: Chris Pine

Black coffee and a bacon sandwich. Trust me on the bacon sandwich. There's a scene in chapter 14 that everyone tells me makes them want to eat one.

Thank you so much for everything, Mary!

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Follow the Dead To Me by Mary McCoy Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Mary McCoy is a librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library. She has also been a contributor to On Bunker Hill and the 1947project, where she wrote stories about Los Angeles's notorious past. She grew up in western Pennsylvania and studied at Rhodes College and the University of Wisconsin. Mary now lives in Los Angeles with her husband. Her debut novel, Dead To Me, is a YA mystery set in the glamorous, treacherous world of 1940s Hollywood.

Win (1) hardcopy of DEAD TO ME by Mary McCoy (US Only)


  1. This sounds like such a good mystery/thriller read! I really like your dream cast picks!

    1. Hi Kaitlyn! Thanks for stopping by! Dead To Me is really a good YA read and I definitely agree with you on Mary's dream cast picks! Love them ;)