The Hollywood Spy (Maggie Hope: Book 10) by Susan Elia MacNeal

Book Cover

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: July 6th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Thriller

Series: Maggie Hope

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary—Book 1

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy—Book 2

His Majesty’s Hope—Book 3

The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent—Book 4

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante—Book 5

The Queen’s Accomplice—Book 6

The Paris Spy—Book 7

The Prisoner in the Castle—Book 8

The King’s Justice—Book 9

The Hollywood Spy—Book 10

Purchase Links—Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

Los Angeles, 1943. As the Allies beat back the Nazis in the Mediterranean and the United States military slowly closes in on Tokyo, Walt Disney cranks out wartime propaganda and the Cocoanut Grove is alive with jazz and swing each night. But behind this sunny façade lies a darker reality. Somewhere in the lush foothills of Hollywood, a woman floats, lifeless, in the pool of one of California’s trendiest hotels. When American-born secret agent and British spy Maggie Hope learns that this woman was engaged to her old flame, John Sterling, and that he suspects her death was no accident, intuition tells her he’s right. Leaving London under siege—not to mention flying thousands of miles—is a lot to ask. But John was once the love of Maggie’s life . . . and she won’t say no.

Maggie is shocked to find Los Angeles as divided as Europe itself—the Zoot Suit Riots loom large and the Ku Klux Klan casts a long shadow. As she marvels at the hatred in her home country, she can’t help but wonder what it will be like to see her lost love once again. But there is little time to dwell on memories once she starts digging into the case. As she traces a web of deception from the infamous Garden of Allah to the iconic Carthay Theater, she discovers things aren’t always the way things appear in the movies—and the political situation in America is more complicated, and dangerous, than the newsreels would have them all believe.


First Line:

It was 1943 and America was at war.

The Hollywood Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

I have a fascination with World War II. And being fascinated with it, I have read a ton of books that have taken place in various countries during World War II. But, to my knowledge, I never have read a book set entirely in Los Angeles during World War II. When I read the blurb and saw where this book was set, this book caught my interest.

The Hollywood Spy is book 10 in the Maggie Hope series. Readers can read this book as a standalone, but I highly recommend that the other books be read first. There are people and events referenced that I had no clue about, and it drove me nuts.

There were two distinct plotlines in The Hollywood Spy. The first being the plotline where Maggie is investigating the death of John’s fiancee. The second involved the KKK and a plotline to cause as much mayhem as possible. I had zero problems keeping the plotlines separate.

The pacing and flow of The Hollywood Spy were good. It did take forever for the book to get going, but once it did, it kept up a steady pace until the end of the book. The same goes for the flow of the book. It flowed nicely between characters and plotlines, with little to no lag.

I liked Maggie and thought she was a relatable character. She dealt with everything that life threw at her with grace and a bit of humor. I also liked that she was super bright but had to be careful not to tread on people’s toes.

The mystery angle of The Hollywood Spy was interesting. There were so many twists and turns in the plotline that I didn’t know where it would take me. I wasn’t that surprised at who the killer ended up being or why that person did it. Considering the times and how close-minded people were (and still are), it made sense.

There was a massive twist in the plotline with John and Maggie. I did not see it coming, and it took me 100% by surprise when he dropped that bomb on her. It also saddened me because what I was hoping wasn’t going to happen.

I do want to add that racism and homophobia are very much a part of this book. Seeing that it is set in the 1940s, I wasn’t that surprised that it was portrayed. It was still heartbreaking to read (the scene with the nanny in the diner made me cry). It was even more painful because 80+ years later, there is still blatant racism. The author discussed this in her author’s note at the end of the book.

The end of The Hollywood Spy was well written. The author ends the storylines in the book but is left open enough for book 11.


The Hollywood Spy was a well-written mystery. I enjoyed reading it and was kept on edge with the different twists and turns that the plot took.

I would recommend The Hollywood Spy for anyone over the age of 21. There is violence and language. There are implied sexual situations.

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