The Girl from Hollywood

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Introduction By Steph Cha

In The Girl from Hollywood, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the legendary creator of Tarzan, turns his eye to the seamy underbelly of Prohibition-era Hollywood.

In this gritty tale of the Jazz Age, the Penningtons, a close-knit ranching family from the Santa Monica Mountains, and Shannon, a vulnerable young starlet making her way in Hollywood, find themselves ensnared in an underworld of contraband liquor and illicit drugs. Ashamed of her scandalous past, Shannon finds solace while visiting the Penningtons, but the predatory film director Wilson Crumb soon disrupts their peaceful existence in the hills.

A captivating thriller about drug addiction, manipulation, and other sordid Hollywood secrets, as well as the regenerative power of nature and family, The Girl from Hollywood remains as timely today as it was a century ago.


Praise for The Girl from Hollywood

“How wonderful that the Los Angeles Review of Books has resurrected this forgotten classic set in 1920s L.A. that rings with timeless truth about Hollywood’s twisted allure but also waxes lyrical about the rolling hills and canyons that Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and Tarzana, once called home. The naïve starlets, dodgy directors, morphine addicts, cowboys, rum-runners, aspiring writers, and gentleman ranchers of a century past are vivid, flawed characters, and the precise, poetic descriptions of open land now ravaged by development and forest fires will make you weep. This is a melodramatic page-turner that by turns enthralls and shocks while presenting a keyhole into a vanished era with haunting resonance to our own. Drop everything and buy The Girl From Hollywood. This is an imprint to watch, and as a student of L.A. history, I can’t wait to see what LARB publishes next.”
—Denise Hamilton, former LA Times reporter, crime novelist, and editor of the award-winning Los Angeles Noir I and Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics short story anthologies

“This Hollywood story of 1924 by the creator of Tarzan reflects the tensions between the agrarian dream of California — utopian life on the bountiful land — and the tawdry modernity of the Jazz Age represented by Los Angeles: a cesspit of rapacious directors, the sex trade, drug addiction, alcoholism, and crime. Most interesting is the novel’s moral conundrum — in a utopia, what outlet is there for youth’s restlessness and ambition, besides out and, most likely, down?”
—Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and The Revolution of Marina M.


“The fictional area of Ganado in the novel is actually the ranch owned by Burroughs – now a large part of the Los Angeles neighborhood of Tarzana. Burroughs bought the land in 1919 and began subdividing in 1923. The fictional area was ideally situated, only 20 minutes from Hollywood. However, in the novel, that mere 20-minute drive is a chasm between Hollywood seediness and the salvation of the Santa Monica mountains. It’s one of the qualities that make this book unputdownable. We would have read it in one sitting, except for the interruptions of Normal Life.”

—Ruth, Silver Screenings

About The Authors

Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American fiction writer best known for his celebrated and prolific output in the adventure and science-fiction genres. Among the most notable of his creations are the jungle man Tarzan, the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter and the fictional landmass within Earth known as Pellucidar. Burroughs’s California ranch is now the center of the Tarzana neighborhood in Los Angeles. He died in 1950.

Steph Cha is the author of Follow Her Home, Beware Beware, and Dead Soon Enough. Her fourth novel, Your House Will Pay, will be out from Ecco in 2019. She’s the noir editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. She lives in her native city of Los Angeles with her husband and two basset hounds.