City of Mirrors (Diana Poole #1), by Melodie Johnson Howe.
I wonder whether Zaitlin really thought I was good, or whether he was just saying that to get me to help Jenny. Compliments in Hollywood are handed out by the bagful, like Halloween candy. It's never been easy for me to completely accept them, because I'm always searching for the one that has the poison in it.
I had never heard of Melodie Johnson Howe before reading this book, which is surprising, because I also run a film blog and she's a former actress, working with the likes of Clint Eastwood and James Caan in her heyday. Now, Howe is an author, and City of Mirrors brings us the first in the Diana Poole thriller series, of which I am anticipating reading the second book, as this installment was very good.
Running out of money, Diana Poole is forced to go back to the only work she knows: acting. Her much-loved husband and movie-star mother have died, and now Diana is over thirty-five. In Hollywood that means she might as well be dead. Still, a few key people remember her talent, and she lands a role in a new movie. But an actress should never get her hopes up, especially when she discovers the female lead's murdered body. Raised in her mother's shadow, Diana knows people in "the business"will go to dangerous lengths to protect their images. When her own life and career are threatened, Diana decides to fight back and find the killer. But unmasking the surprising murderer isn't that easy, especially when she uncovers what's real--and unreal--in her own life.
Diana is an interesting heroine. She's a mix of Kinsey Millhone (the Sue Grafton alphabet series) and many other female protagonists I have read. Diana is an actress but isn't flighty, and her mother was even more famous than she currently is, although Diana has been working on a movie where she has a major supporting role (if that's not an oxymoron).
I liked this novel a lot, as the scenes were all very believable, even if the characters themselves (mostly Diana) didn't always believe they were occurring. During a few points in the novel, she finds herself in peril, and can't believe this is happening "in real life" since these sorts of things usually only happen in the movies she films; I thought this was a nice touch to add to the book.
There's also double-crossings, a love interest, and the scenic L.A. area to round out the novel, and I can't wait to see what trouble Diana gets herself into in the next Diana Poole book in the series.
4 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.