A page turning "holiday" mystery thriller from a "Dark Shadows" icon @ 28 March 2013 01:56 PM
Kathryn Leigh Scott continues to amaze with Down and Out in Beverly Heels, the latest example of her many creative talents. In addition to being a pop culture icon ("Dark Shadows," "Police Squad"), publisher of a vast array of nonfiction/showbiz books and author of several books on the DS phenomenon, Scott has created her second novel -- this one a crisp, page turning mystery thriller in the grand tradition of TV series like "Columbo" and movies like "The Net."

Told in first person (which creates an uneasy feeling, at least to me, that the character may not survive the story), the lead character is Meg, the star of a classic TV light mystery show called "Holiday." The glamorous dream life she has lead, from the series and her marriage to Mr. Perfect to her beautiful home and seeming financial security, it all comes crashing down all over her. In a short time, she's alone, broke and a suspect of a costly fraud scheme.

As Scott unfolds the story and Meg searches for the truth, we get a glimpse of Hollywood through a prism of location filmings, lavish parties and nostalgia shows, every setting described in meticulous but never oppressive detail. She uses the traditional mystery simile, but with a nod and a smile. As a character, Meg is never at a loss for humor and irony.

Perhaps the most affecting world we explore is that of the downtrodden former Hollywood individual: a former director, a stuntman and sex symbol, to name a few. Each of these folks has carved out a life after the cameras stopped rolling for them, some very comfortable, some not so much.

I was touched when reading about the "street stars," a community who cling to former glory while living through soup kitchens, park benches and public restrooms. Meg is particularly close to one lady whose makeup and clothes are deteriorating as much as she and her mind are -- and of course, Meg is a breath or two away from becoming like her, as we all might be should we hit similar circumstances.

Surely this underground of Hollywood life is sadly a reality. And what an amazing nonfiction book or documentary it would make -- or maybe it has and I am not aware of it.

This is just the sort of book to relax with, to take on a trip, to read by the pool. This is page turning romp, filled with fiction fun, humor and heart.
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