13 Hollywood Apes

A Layla Remington Mystery

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In a savvy, stylish thriller debut perfect for anyone who loves the crime novels of Michael Connelly or Nevada Barr, Gil Reavill unravels a chilling tale of murder and mayhem among humans and their closest evolutionary relatives—a primate family that may just be too close for comfort.

As a wildfire rages outside the Odalon Animal Sanctuary in the rugged Santa Monica foothills, the retired Hollywood movie chimpanzees housed there are shot and left for dead. When Malibu detective Layla Remington reaches the grisly scene the next morning, she’s deeply disturbed—and even more confused. The victims are not human, so the attack cannot be classified as homicide. Yet someone clearly wanted these animals dead, and executed them with ruthless efficiency. Miraculously, there is one survivor: a juvenile male named Angle.

But as Layla reaches the veterinarian’s office where Angle is recovering, a man with rock-star good looks and a laid-back Southern California attitude swoops in and removes him. And just like that, an unusual case turns truly bizarre. Soon reports surface of ferocious attacks against Odalon employees . . . with Angle as the prime suspect. As a wave of senseless violence reaches its apex, Layla chases a mystery man and his chimp—but everything comes back to that terrible night at the sanctuary.


Praise for Thirteen Hollywood Apes: A Layla Remington Novel:

“13 Hollywood Apes” is a high quality thriller filled with betrayal, murder and conspiracy. The characters in this book are so well done you would swear they are real including the animals. The story takes on the complex world of animal rights which is woven into the mystery and suspense. I am so glad to have found Gil Reavill and am looking forward to the next book in this series. -- Vic's Media Room

It is hard to believe that 13 Hollywood Apes is the first novel by Gil Reavill. This is a very impressive book for a debut.  This book has a little bit of everything: suspense, mystery, drama, sadness and evil.  All of these things are blended together expertly to create a very good and entertaining book.

The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional.  Layla presents herself as a tough as nails female detective.  But she has a softer side, which is evident whenever she spends time with her dad.  It is also displayed when she continues to dig for the truth and find the person responsible for the executed apes.  She wants to see justice served even if the victims are animals. She is someone I would like to get to know better and look forward to learning more about her in future books.  Although Angle is not human he is a very important character in the book and he is very endearing and you want to see good things happen to him.  It is very easy to care about him.

The beginning of the book is very sad, in my opinion.  I thought to myself, I am not sure if I can read this book if it is so sad throughout the entire book.  However it does not take very long for the suspense to begin to build and continue to build until the very end.  There are twists and turns along the way to add to the intense drama.  The sadness became a starting point for everything the follows.

The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read.  The author is very descriptive in his writing and at times I think the descriptions are a little much.  Especially in the first few chapters but then I did not notice it so much through the rest of the book.  This is only my opinion and some readers may enjoy lengthy descriptions.  Like they say, sometimes less is more and I tend to agree with that statement.

I did learn some things about apes that I did not know.  I learned that there are 4 species of apes: gorillas, orangutans, bonobos and chimpanzees.  I had never even heard of the bonobos.  There are also issues concerning animal rights that are brought to light in this book.  When a book either teaches me something new or gives me something to think about I enjoy that and the book goes up in my opinion.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted mystery suspense.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, which I believe is being released towards the end of next year.-- Jerjen at Open Book Society

Right off the bat the first chapter grabbed my attention… The premise was something I have never seen before, so it was indeed refreshing to read… A mystery/thriller [that] I can truly say that it was executed in a spectacular way. I was left wondering what was going to happen next with the story and its characters. The character development of the protagonist, Layla, was well written. I deeply enjoyed the dynamic between her and the father. -- Randi at Bell, Book & Candle

This is not a cute cuddly story of apes. In fact it’s downright heartbreaking and provoking. The question of animal rights will linger long after you have completed the book. The evolutionary chain will be questioned, at least I gave it deep thought after I finished the book.

Layla is challenged with this case but her determination and professionalism causes her to forge ahead and she does indeed. Layla and her father have a wonderful relationship. A relationship built on trust, she knows her father is there for her no matter what comes her way. Her warmth is evident with her father as opposed to her frosty professional persona.

Reavill does a great job intermingling interesting information regarding chimpanzees, classic movies and of course Hollywood as the story unfolds. Opinions regarding animals are peppered throughout the book only increasing the narrative and leaving the reader lost in thought. The narrative moves quickly leaving you questioning what will transpire next.

In the end you will be questioning the right of animals. Interesting book, way more than I bargained for in a good way. – Malodioous at nightlyreading

You’ll find yourself unable to stop reading once you pick it up. So definitely pick it up! -- Jodi Webb at Words by Webb

The opening three pages of this novel are impactful and saddening. There was no way I was going to set this book down until I knew who did such a thing. What possible reason they could have? Layla Remington also felt the same way about this crime.

There is a smidgen of politics involved in both the DA’s office and the police departments. How seriously they do or do not take this initial occurrence makes Layla’s job harder. There’s another case in the news about some celebrities. There is the situation of dealing with a district attorney Rick Stills who’s been recently assigned to her area. How does she even find a way to get the evidence processed? So there are a lot of moving parts.

I enjoyed the relationship between Layla and her father. He’s a man she can trust. All the characters were realistic and multi-layered. There’s room for cops, reporters, scientists, lawyers, actresses, henchmen, veterinarians, wealthy and poor on this trail to find answers.

The author weaves a nice storyline and also gives a dash of information about chimpanzees, old movies, and Hollywood along the way. You do not have to be a pet owner to appreciate this book. There are scenes that are heartfelt, but it’s not a cutesy or cozy style book. Several of the characters have strong opinions about the animals and that enriches the plot. It still boils down to someone took another’s life. What Layla has to discover is: who and why. -- Felita Daniels, Lilac Reviews (Dec. 11)

It was a really good book. I read it in two nights.



The family members settled for the night among the sweet-smelling spindle trees and eucalyptus along the eastern boundary of the yard. They had been restless all day from the sharp scent of smoke in the air, the far-off call of sirens, the busy staccato motor noise of humans in the hills around them. Delinquent flames showed on a ridgeline to the north, orange-black in the distance.

Dread of fire, an age-old fear, was bred into their bones. They gathered as a family that sweltering October night, the last of their lives. For all their nervousness, they performed their usual evening rituals, grooming one another, shaping their tree-bough bedding for the night. Janey and Arbor, always the best of friends, played at tossing clumps of leaves and broken-off sticks onto the cargo nets strung between wooden posts below them.

They fell into wakeful sleep one after another: Mister Jeepers, Monk, Chow-Chow, Stella. Veronica curled up with the playful youngster she had adopted, Bee Bee. Pamela slept with her daughter, Amy. Eric paired off with the elderly Bess.

Out of the dark came a laser pinprick of light. Odd, dancing, crimson, it searched among its targets until it settled upon Booth, the pepper-haired patriarch, who lay alone in a self-created sling of branches high up in a eucalyptus.

The gunshot broke the night open.

The family startled instantly awake, and the yard echoed with screeches, barks, and howls. As the others scattered, Booth remained inert and motionless at the foot of the tree.

The night air filled with sharp, echoing reports, one after another, spaced among the screams. Moment by moment, the members of the family fell. The big chain-link fence cut off all retreat. There was nowhere to run. The killing took but six minutes.

Finally only a single lost soul survived, an eight-year-old male, running along the ditch on the grassy western side of the compound, frantic after the death ruckus of the others. He sped not away but toward the shooter.

Confused, or angry, bent on revenge.

The ruby laser dot searched, discovered, settled. Five grams of copper-clad lead caught the last survivor with a glancing blow on his right shoulder, spun him around, and pushed him into the concrete ditch.

Then, silence. A few night birds called, poorwills and mourning doves. Above, through the leaves, the far-off, uncaring stars. Somewhere to the east a two-stroke engine sputtered, sounding barely there.

Later that night, the dry October winds pushed the flames down out of the hills into the parched grasses and brittle, needle-heavy trees of the compound. But the wildfire found nothing left to kill and, in its impotent rage, could do nothing more than cook the dead.

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