The Body Shop on Sunset

The Body Shop on Sunset

Crystal is a tragic figure in the novel, “Palm Avenue.” Crystal is a former stripper and prostitute who escaped that life when she married a famous Hollywood stuntman and moved in with him at his house in Laurel Canyon.  Their happy marriage was cut short when the stuntman was killed in a helicopter accident while he was shooting a movie. Crystal deals with her grief by using cocaine, smoking blunts, drinking chardonnay, and deviant sex.

Crystal really never had much of a chance at a normal life. Molested by her stepfather as a child, Crystal is severely emotional damaged and never had the tools to deal with anything the way most people do. A passage in the book describes it, “Crystal had recurring nightmares about her mother’s boyfriend who would come into her room drunk when she was only ten years old and have sex with her. At the time, she even grew to like it, but was confused and scarred for life by it. She had been placed on psychiatric holds several times and had been through a couple of court-ordered rehabs. She even did a six month stint at the Sybil Brand detention center for a cocaine beef in the early nineties. There had been half assed suicide attempts and pill overdoses over the years.

Hillside homes in Laurel Canyon

Hillside homes in Laurel Canyon

Crystal knows how to mask her true upbringing by creating a different persona to new people she meets. She grew up in Compton, but speaks with a British accent most of the time. She is very careful not to reveal the true source of her past or her pain to anyone. Her half brother Derek,  a gang member, is the only person from her childhood who Crystal still keeps in touch with, and he supplies her with cocaine.

Brady is intrigued by Crystal when he first meets her.  He is also impressed by her house in the Hollywood Hills with the fantastic view. She decides to hold Brady hostage and he becomes a willing participant.  It is a case of two emotionally damaged people coming together and creating more damage.  Brady won’t be the same after spending time with Crystal.

Hollywood Hills

Hollywood Hills

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