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Travel to the locations in Hurricane Blonde – with Halley Sutton

  • Submitted: 15th November 2023

Travel to the locations in Hurricane Blonde – with Halley Sutton

On The BookTrail today, we’re off to sunny Los Angeles for a tour of The Hurricane Blonde. Get your factor 30 and put on your shades as this is one criminally good tour!

Literary locations in The Hurricane Blonde

The Hurricane Blonde Halley Sutton

The Hurricane Blonde Halley Sutton

Halley Sutton - credit Faizah Rajput (2)

Halley Sutton – credit Faizah Rajput

My thriller,The Hurricane Blonde is set in Los Angeles, and mostly in Hollywood—both the neighborhood, but also the industry.

The book’s main character, Salma Lowe, is a woman with deep roots in Hollywood: her parents are mega-famous actors, and she herself was a child actor before flaming out of movie-making.

When the book opens, Salma has eschewed acting to lead a true crime tour bus, paying particular attention to the sites where young actresses met an untimely demise.

 

Even though I live in Los Angeles—and both my novels have been set there—Hollywood itself is a world apart, almost like visiting an entirely different city.

One of the very first places I went to research was the Warner Brothers studio backlot tour. I wanted to make sure I knew enough about movie-making to make Salma’s experience realistic and immersive.

Literary locations in The Hurricane Blonde

The Warner Bros Tower

The Warner Bros Tower (c) H Sutton

On my tour, I picked up details that Salma would note in her own on-set experiences: the “wig-wag,” a red light which lets people know filming has begun; the name of extra-wide doors on soundstages (elephant doors, for the days of movie-making yore when real live elephants had to be loaded onto set), and more.

Literary locations in The Hurricane Blonde

Chateau Marmont (c) Wikipedia

Chateau Marmont (c) Wikipedia

Chateau Marmont

The Chateau Marmont is a Hollywood institution, with more than one Tinseltown scandal attached. Built in 1929, the hotel was modeled after the Chateau D’Amboise in the Loire Valley. Tucked away just off the Sunset strip, Chateau Marmont remains a place for movie stars to be seen—or to hideaway, if need be.

Literary locations in The Hurricane Blonde

The museum (c) H Sutton

Hollywood gangster style (c) H Sutton

The hotel is also famous (or rather, infamous) for several Hollywood scandals: John Belushi died of an overdose in one of the rooms. Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski lived at the hotel before moving to the Benedict Canyon home where Tate would eventually be murdered. Director Nicholas Ray wrote Rebel Without a Cause at the hotel (where he’d moved after finding his then-wife in bed with his son from a previous marriage).

Literary locations in The Hurricane Blonde

Musso & Frank Grill (c) Wikipedia

Musso & Frank Grill (c) Wikipedia

The Musso & Frank Grill

It was well-known that Raymond Chandler would post up at this Hollywood watering hole and down a few gimlets (Chandler, never a low-maintenance man, was also known to harangue the bartenders if they didn’t mix his gimlet exactly his preferred way).

Musso & Frank’s has been serving delicious steaks and icy cocktails on Hollywood Boulevard since 1919. The restaurant is like a portal into Hollywood’s past: The bar for which it’s known, the furniture, even the light fixtures, all date to 1934.

Okay, but seriously, get the gimlet. Chandler wasn’t wrong.

Literary locations in The Hurricane Blonde

Cinerama Dome (w) Wikipedia

Cinerama Dome (w) Wikipedia

The Cinerama Dome

There are so many stunning theaters in Hollywood: Grauman’s Chinese Theater (known for its Chinese-inspired décor and the concrete handprints of stars out front), the Egyptian Theater, with its obelisks and hieroglyphic-sporting columns. But my personal favorite—and the site of one of the most pivotal scenes in The Hurricane Blonde—is the Cinerama Dome theater in Hollywood.

Known for its distinctive, puckered dome shape and red and blue midcentury signage, the Cinerama Dome was created to showcase widescreen Cinerama films. (It also made a cameo in Quentin Tarantino’s film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…). The Cinerama Dome is also home to many Hollywood premieres, retrospectives, and special screenings—a true monument to the art of cinema.

Literary locations in The Hurricane Blonde

The Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park (w) Wikipedia

The Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park (w) Wikipedia

The Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park

This tiny, unassuming cemetery doesn’t get as much publicity as Los Angeles’ more famous cemeteries such as  Hollywood Forever and Forest View. Its location doesn’t help: Pierce Brothers is off a main thoroughfare in Los Angeles, and behind a skyscraper.

Pierce Brothers is also the eternal resting place of many of Hollywood’s most famous luminaries. Marilyn Monroe’s marble headstone has been kissed so many times, it’s permanently stained pink.

Literary locations in The Hurricane Blonde

Marilyn Monroe (c) H Sutton

Marilyn Monroe (c) H Sutton

Literary locations in The Hurricane Blonde

In The Hurricane Blonde, the Pierce Brothers cemetery is also the final resting place of Salma’s beloved older sister, Tawney, whose murder twenty years before the book starts was never solved. Other notable inhabitants include Farrah Fawcett, Dominique Dunne, and Dorothy Stratten (the latter two are on Salma’s tour).

 

BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Hurricane Blonde

Twitter: @halley_sutton

 

 

 

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