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Hollywood, 1947. Jack Shannon, a former actor whose promising career was interrupted by the war and ended by a facial scar sustained in combat, is now a studio publicist. He jokes that the only thing he knows about publicity is how to suppress it, but that, in fact, is his real job. He’s a fixer who babysits the studio’s stars and covers up their bad behavior, and he’s good at what he does because his experiences in Europe have left him morally and emotionally numb: it’s easy for him to whitewash breaches of ethics and the law because he simply doesn’t care.
Everything changes for Jack when Savannah Stevens enters his life. A sexpot star in the mold of Jean Harlow and the studio’s biggest box-office draw, she’s a deeply troubled young woman given to emotional breakdowns, unexplained absences from the set, and time-devouring delays occasioned by her paralyzing insecurities and her insistence on dozens of takes.
Jack’s job is to stay with her 24/7, deliver her to the set on time each day, and make sure she completes her current picture, a picture on which the future of the studio depends. All goes well until Savannah disappears, and Jack is assigned the task of finding her…without revealing to anyone, including the police, that she is missing.
There was Sam Spade, Lew Archer, Travis McGee. Now there is Jack Shannon.” —Jameson Parker, Recovering Actor (Simon and Simon), Working Writer (Dancing with the Dead)