A literary agent discovers that dealing with authors can be murder.
Jo Donovan, widow of the great American novelist Hugo Donovan and sole partner in the Hamish and Donovan literary agency since cancer forced the retirement of Molly Hamish, is being kicked to pieces by life. A biographer is snooping around her philandering husband’s possible dalliances. A stalker insists that he’s a fabulous writer and she must become his literary muse, as she was for Hugo. And a series of escalating blows is about to demolish her agency. Clients have received emails, supposedly from her, proclaiming fabulous sales to television and the movies and front-page raves in the New York Times Book Review. A spurious press release outlining her reasons for quitting her agency has been sent to publishing bigwigs. And the mainstay of her agency, a best-selling author, has been murdered, followed by Molly’s death five weeks later. The only clue is a mysterious message left corpseside: “Do you hear me now?” Detective Tommy Cullen, Jo’s former lover, is assigned the stalker/murder cases, and other protectors rush in, including a former FBI profiler, now an author of thrillers, and a writer raising attack dogs who lends her Mingus, a German shepherd with big teeth and killer manners. Jo’s staff seems determined to shield her, but one member really wants to sleep with her, another plans to team up with an employee she fired, and a third is so placid, so frumpy and so very organized that readers will immediately suspect this toady as the villain.
Rogan, who has never recouped the fame brought on by Suspicion (1999) with any of the titles that followed, clearly knows the publishing milieu very well, from authors’ egos to Manhattan lunch places. But a smidgen less romance and a dollop of suspense would have been welcome.