Book Review: Diane Haithman Kills in Dark Lady of Hollywood

Dark Lady of Hollywood 2It was only natural that former Los Angeles Times writer and current Deadline|Hollywood contributor Diane Haithman would one day turn the tables on the town she has covered with such precision for the last 25+ years. A writer after my own heart, she also knows her Shakespeare Ps and Qs.

In Dark Lady of Hollywood, Haithman uses her insider’s insight and razor-sharp wit to create a feisty new contemporary novel that blends the two worlds into a hilariously gratifying page-turner of epic sitcom proportions.

With meticulous delight, she appropriates elements from Shakespeare’s plays – a twist of a phrase here; a nod to a character there – to create an unending stream of plot developments that will keep you laughing at every turn. It’s smart, sassy writing and wholly entertaining from beginning to end. Romance, intrigue, mystery and mayhem; yes, there’s even a dog.

When you’re a 36-year-old straight white male TV executive in LA, life pretty much submits to your will. At least it did for Ken Harrison, a sitcom exec who loves Shakespeare’s tragedies…until he becomes fortune’s fool. No longer a big Hollywood hotshot, he has just been demoted to the studio graveyard of Movies and Minis, where all formerly favored suits go to die. The irony of that edict will become immediately clear to the reader in chapter one but, for the purpose of not cheating you of any of the delicious details, I’ll let you discover that on your own. 

Desperate to find meaning again in a life that is rapidly slipping away from him, fate steps in to help Ken discover a new purpose in an errant copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. He sets out to find his own Dark Lady of the Sonnets whom he is convinced will help him fix his once Palisades-perfect, now Beverly Hills-adjacent lifestyle. When he does, neither the situation nor the woman are at all what you’d expect and the lengths he and his lady, Ophelia, go to in order to remain in control will leave you screaming. “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it” takes on new meaning at every juncture for this pair.

Like manna in the desert of a sound stage after the series has been cancelled, Dark Lady of Hollywood is a dream for any lover of Shakespeare with a secret desire to see behind the curtain of show biz. Capitalizing on Haithman’s unique point of view and savvy intellect, it has “deadly guilty pleasure” written all over it.

Ellen Dostal
Shakespeare in LA

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Diane HaithmanOn Sunday June 8th from 3:00 – 5:00 pm, you can meet Diane at her book signing and launch party at the Lankershim Arts Center in North Hollywood. The festivities will include a staged reading of a short section of the book at 3:30 featuring Michael Yurchak, Paula Weston Solano, Jill Holden and Charles Degelman as well as schmoozing and snacks. Lankershim Arts  Center is located at 5108 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA. Parking: Street Parking, 5250 Weddington Structure and Lot 627, on Magnolia just West of Lankershim.

By Diane Haithman
Harvard Square Editions
For more about the author, visit


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Zumsteg
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 22:08:20

    Enjoying the book reviews of late, Ellen! Thanks!



  2. Shakespeare in LA
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 22:11:02

    You’re welcome. You’d love this one!



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