Tuesday, April 22, 2014


By Stephen Jared
161 pages
Solstice Publishing

Since Hollywood first appeared amidst the bustling beehive of Los Angeles, California, it became the Mecca for thousands of young men and women hoping to find fame and fortune in the film industry.  But only a tiny percentage would ever realize those dreams. The majority would either return to their small town homes, find other menial employment or worse, end up lost souls beneath the heartless wheels of the motion picture world.

Stephen Jared’s cautionary tale of Allyson Rockwell is such a tragedy and from the first page to the last, it is a grim, unrelenting descent into a young woman’s personal hell. Depressed and ready to call it quits, Allyson is within hours of taking a bus home when, on a whim, she goes to a glitzy Hollywood film premier and there meets a Lenny Carsen, a sadistic mobster who is captivated by her good looks.  Seeing her vulnerability, Carsen convinces her to give up her plans of going home by suggesting he can get her a film contract. When he manages to make good on that promise, it is then simple for him to suggest Allyson move into his small home in the suburbs.  Not wanting to appear ungrateful and still euphoric by having just signed a contract with Universal Studios, Allyson naively accepts Carsen’s offer.

Days later, while in a drunken stupor, he rapes her on the kitchen floor.  He makes it quite clear she can expect more of the same on a regular basis.  Too ashamed to go to the police, Allyson is afraid a scandal would jeopardize her fledgling acting career which she had worked so hard to attain.  But by choosing to keep her situation a secret, Allyson begins her descent into a dark, bottomless pit of despair from which there is no return.

After beginning his writing presence with several action adventures, Stephen Jared focuses his considerable talent on his own back yard.  A professional actor in both films and television, he is no stranger to the back office deals and exploitative manipulations young actors are subject to on a daily basis.  It is this intimate knowledge of the players in this industry of illusion that lifts his tale to a level of poignant reality that is difficult to ignore.  It is by far his most personal work and thus his best.  There are no happy endings in “The Brutal Illusion,” only broken hearts.

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