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Sammy Taylor was 1940s Hollywood’s next big thing. At only 14, he is entering a crucial age for child actors in an industry known for chewing them up and spitting them out. Knowing he doesn’t have much time to move into older, adult parts, and with his contract expiring with his current studio, Sammy follows along as his mother and agent seek a new home. None other than the biggest studio of all, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer!
Life is starting to look up, but when his mother is arrested for passing counterfeit money Sammy sees his world begin to fall apart. His All American film image in jeopardy, as well as his future career, Sammy starts a private investigation into where the money came from. His problems are only beginning as a snooping federal agent settles on his heels. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Sammy is confronted by a German speaking man ransacking his room and a mysterious cloaked and hooded figure.
Events spiral out of control as Sammy uncovers a wide reaching conspiracy reaching all the way back to Nazi Germany. Time is running out as Sammy and his friend collide with nefarious forces bent on the destruction of the United States economy – and them, if they get in the way.
Dorian Rockwood has written an historical fiction war novel that takes place in the United States and reads like an old movie from the forties. The author uses the lingo of the times throughout the book like “the real McCoy” and “nuts and bolts.” He also mentions some famous gossip columnists named Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons. This is quite the visual book when he describes the movie studio, the equipment used, Sammy’s dressing room, and other scenes. The last two sections, the Author’s note and Who Are These People, were a good touch and gave background material to the book. This is one aspect that makes this a good book for 8 to 12 year-old children who might be interested in learning more about this time of World War II. This book could also be used as a language lesson with the use of some of the German phrases that are spoken in the book. Treachery Unmasked is a fast-paced historical novel that reads like a detective movie on television and could be read in a day. – LitPick
Overall, this book was a great read. First of all, I liked the concept of telling the story from the perspective of a child actor, and I think the author did a good job of capturing this tone. We were able to see multiple parts of Sammy’s personality, like the maturity he has gained from acting, but also the innocence he has as someone who is still a child. The plot itself of the book was very exciting, and I liked the idea of Sammy being the one to find the counterfeit bill and later being the one who investigates it. Additionally, I enjoyed how this book was fast-paced and full of adventure. No part of the story felt dull or dragged out. This book took place in the 1940s and the author’s language throughout the book, such as mentions of listening on the radio for the news and newly founded Coogan legislation protecting a child actor’s earnings, made it seem realistic that the story was taking place in that time period. Overall, I think this is a great book for readers looking for a book filled with adventure and mystery! – LitPick