Michael Connelly, the author of Bosch and The Lincoln Lawyer novels, is launching a new podcast documentary series, The Wonderland Murders & The Secret History of Hollywood, for Audible. The series will premiere on July 1st in time for the 40th anniversary of the violent murders that have become Hollywood lore. Connelly created and written the series and will executive produce with veteran LAPD homicide detective Rick Jackson, Jen Casey, and Nick Gilhool.
Named for the street in Laurel Canyon where the murders took place inside the house of a small-time drug gang, the gruesome crime was considered a reflection of its time, adding to the dark underbelly in the ongoing myth of Los Angeles and Hollywood. In Connelly's hands, it tells a broader story of Los Angeles, the American dream machine, and when justice does – and doesn't – work. And for the first time, a notorious, "missing" witness unlocks it all and puts the pieces together in a way nobody had before.
The podcast follows Scott Thorson, who was Liberace's lover and confidant and played by Matt Damon in the movie Behind the Candelabra, declaring himself the "Zelig of Awful" as he serves as a tour guide into Hollywood's dark underbelly. He is either a massive fantasist or the ultimate witness to the secret history of Hollywood.
Though the Wonderland Murders took place in 1981, the aftermath spans decades with characters, details, subplots, and investigative twists that often prove the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction. The strange fallout includes the Hollywood underworld's most violent drug kingpin, three murder trials with no conviction, a bribed juror, and accusations of a corrupt federal agent, the birth of the crack cocaine epidemic, the investigators getting investigated themselves, the Black Guerilla Family, the most notorious porn actor of his generation, John Holmes, the usual wild claims about the drug use of many major celebrities that became the norm, a Boston mafia Don, and a dodgy televangelist who was supposed to be in witness protection but ended up on the floor of a Florida motel shot in the face and left for dead.
It will also feature Detective Tom Lange and Detective Bob Souza, the lead investigators on the Wonderland case from LAPD's elite investigation unit, the Robbery-Homicide Division (RHD) who wrote their personal account of the case, Malice in Wonderland. During their investigation, the detectives dealt with snitches, thieves, drug addicts, and adult film stars as well as a powerful and connected prime suspect who was able to turn the investigation against them. It all sounds like the plot of a Michael Connelly cop novel.
The Wonderland Murders & The Secret History of Hollywood podcast is owned and produced by Miziker Content, edited by Terrill Lee Lankford, and features original music by Eamonn Welliver. "It is exciting to be releasing this podcast on Audible, a company I've had a long and fruitful association with," Connelly said. "The podcast will take the listener behind the scenes of this infamous case and look at it from angles never seen before. If you think you know this story already, you are wrong." The Wonderland Murders & The Secret History of Hollywood begins on July 1st on Audible.
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