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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  234 ratings  ·  24 reviews
They were princes...

The royalty of their 1950 high school graduating class--three promising young men who were, without a doubt, most likely to succeed.

And they did succed.

In films, in journalism and in charismatic religion, they reached that dazzling, dangerous pinnacle called


...only to be haunted by memories of a dark night of violence and a shared secret guil
Paperback, 640 pages
Published February 1st 1984 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1982)
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Lee Anne
Now, when I say this is a four-star book, I don't mean it in the same way that an Edith Wharton book, or say, The Help is a four-star book. This is a four-star book in the category of 80s, mass market, die-cut/metallic-lettered cover, bought at the grocery store books. It has sex, violence, sexy violence, violent sex, drugs, homosexuality, racism, political events, religion, and college football.

I bought this book back in 1984, when it was made into a mini-series starring Ben Masters (late of "
I watched the mini-series when I was in high school and discovered it was based on the book by Thomas Thompson. I devoured this book! It is incredibly written, with an amazing plot. To this day, I use a quote from this book, to the effect that she is a virgin with each new moon...(great stuff)... and when the movie star has gay male sex for the first time, it definitely made an impact on my impressionable young mind (at the time).

I still have my original paperback copy today, over 20 years later
Feb 02, 2015 Jeff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves to read big ass books!
Recommended to Jeff by: The voices in my head.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sam Primera
At Their High School Graduation Three Seniors-Mackenzie Crawford,Kleber Cantrell,And T.J. Luther-Commit A Horrific Crime.After The Crime Is Covered Up They Go Their Seperate Ways To Live Extremely Productive And Successful Lives.

Crawford Becomes A Pro Football Player Then Turns To Acting.Kleber Becomes A Highly Successful And Published Journalist,Covering All The Important Events Of His Time.And T.J. Will Try To Cleanse His Soul With Evangelism.

But The Horrible Secret Won't Stay Dead.With Guilt,
For about 10 years, in my teens, I would read this book every summer. It's trashy enough to qualify as a great summer read. I picked it up again, because I wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered. It is. As a matter of fact, now that I'm older, I can appreciate the great writing, the intricate plotting, the great way in which the story is told and the characters. SO glad I came back to visit this one.
Cassius Shuman
This was an engrossing story about three men who reach the status of celebrity while struggling to forget a dark secret that binds them together. Author Thomas Thompson does a great job of interweaving three separate story-lines which intersect at different points in the story. Thompson when to school and started as a journalist in Texas. He worked at Life Magazine in 1961 and later became an editor and staff writer. While working at Life he covered the JFK assassination and was the first writer ...more
Thomas Thompson tells the story of three high school friends and how their lives inter twine and play out. Excellent story!
I read this as a teenager after the mini-series (god, I miss mini-series), and I obsessed over it for years. I wish I still owned my original dog-eared paperback copy, but it's long gone.

Without giving too much away, the moment the acid on the wall of the cell reveals the face to TJ is tattooed on my soul.

Wonderful haunting, sprawling Southern story with glamor and sex and scandal.
I read this book when it was first published back in 1982. I remembered the fascinating characters and the sweeping roller coaster plot. I didn't remember how well written it was/is. I love that Thompson uses the word "celebrity" in some way in each chapter. It's a great summer escape read. Caution: language and some scenes are pretty rough.
I liked the book. The story follows 3 young men from high school into adulthood. The author does a great job of tying the past and present. Sins of the past are carried forward and continue to haunt the three young men. The ending is a little unexpected but very plausible.
Marwan Asmar
Great Book not because of its Hollywood celebrity style but because of the way it is weaved by a well-known journalist who was one of the editors of Life magazine. A great deal of his journalism goes into the story-line which lead some to say it has the bit of biographical
If you want to read a book that completely absorbs you, this is the one. Somehow it's gossipy and salacious and poignant and insightful all at the same time. I read it for the first time over 20 years ago and I still count it as one of my favorite books.
Patricia Schafer
This book is from the late 70's in a time where cell phones and the internet did not exisited The world was coming out of WWII and going into the 60's and 70's. It also looks at the pluses and minus of being well known.
Loved this book! Too bad there are not many authors like Thomas Thompson around any more; part true crime with deep characters and a surprise ending. If anyone knows of a similar author, please let me know!
Big, brash, cheesy, gaudy - a typical 80s read, but it's also about male friendships, bonds that last for years and I like that kind of thing.

Plus I enjoyed the mini-series.
Ali Franke
Couldn't even finish it - too trashy and I don't consider myself a prude but the language is atrocious.
Katherine Coble
Definite escapism.

Interesting to see how 25 years have changed for acceptability in Popular Fiction.

Feb 03, 2014 Philip added it
I first read this when it came out in the early 1980s and found it a rivetting read.

02/03/14: It still is.
Abimbola Adefemiwa
"Nothing succeeds like success and nothing corrupts like celebrity"...gripping read
Good book. They made this into a very cheesy mini series in the early 80's.
Julie Foy
Couldn't finish it - literary equivelant of a soap opera.
Jim Swike
A great read, became a mini-series
superb read
Loved this book!
Lisa Polk
Lisa Polk marked it as to-read
Apr 26, 2015
Memo Campos
Memo Campos marked it as to-read
Apr 21, 2015
Aaron is currently reading it
Apr 20, 2015
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Apr 07, 2015
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Celebritys 2 4 Mar 26, 2014 08:59AM  
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He was born in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas in 1955. He then worked as a reporter and editor at the Houston Press.

Thompson joined Life Magazine in 1961 and became an editor and staff writer. While at Life he covered the JFK assassination and was the first writer to locate Lee Harvey Oswald's home and wife. Among his stories were coverage of the making of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely He
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