A teenage thespian battles ubiquitous paparazzi and parasitic producers.
Seth Crane immerses himself in his acting career in order to escape his troubled home life. His deceased mom and stroke-disabled dad hang heavy on his shoulders, and this angst helps him perform admirably in the role of Romeo in his local theater’s production. A Hollywood director sees his performance and signs Seth up to play the lead in an independent feature the likes of which the world has never seen. Joining him are fellow newcomer Annaleigh and the beautiful teen starlet Sabrina Layton. As love triangles develop and the line between reality and fiction blurs, Seth is nearly consumed by the trappings of celebrity. There’s a half-decent thriller here, but it never emerges. Every character has something to hide and speaks with half-truths and double meanings, leaving readers with very little to work with. Seth is a dolt, but he’s not the fun or endearing kind. Readers’ sympathies for Seth will disappear as they watch him play his female co-leads against each other. The film at the center of it all is such a clear red herring that readers will roll their eyes as Seth continues to ignore the obvious warning signs. The eventual reveal of who’s evil and who’s good and what the point of all this secrecy was falls flat on both narrative and emotional levels.
Aims for thrilling; reaches trite. (Thriller. 12-16)