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Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite
Jay is a broke young dreamer who arrives in Hollywood to pursue his career in the music and film industry in the year 1983. On his tumultuous journey to fame and glory, Jay makes several new friends, including a fraudulent character named Monty. Monty is "a modern-day Robin Hood", who robs the rich and gives to degenerates. He eventually gets Jay to join his team of scammers, and together, they steal from different businesses and stores to pay for their daily expenses and adventures. In Underground in Tinseltown, John F. Wilkie tells the story of two young troublemakers in the 1980s Hollywood scene, who try to swim above the waves of obscurity but for a long time remain trapped with drugs, alcohol, parties, jail, relationship drama, and dangerous scam plots.
"Please don't attempt this crap at home." This message in the book's introduction is definitely not an overemphasis. Heart racing and mouth open in shock, I read through the incredibly audacious scams and close calls that John F. Wilkie weaves together in his highly engaging, unpredictable, and fun narrative. Jay and Monty not only have to battle their desires but also each other, as they deal with relationship problems and trust issues—which I found especially relatable. The book delivers a smooth blend of themes including discord, violence, sex, crime, addiction, mental illness, friendship, homosexuality, music, and more. Underground in Tinseltown is perfect for readers who wish to completely escape to the 1980s Hollywood scene and soak up the music, active locations, and popular activities of that era. Like an exotic meal that seems to never leave your taste buds, the book stays fresh in your mind long after finishing its addictive, chaos-packed pages.