How dark is the dark side of the charismatic Hollywood actor?
Jazz pianist and sometime sleuth Evan Horne (Shades of Blue, 2008, etc.) is playing a sweet gig at Ruth Price's Culver City club when he gets an unusual offer from Hollywood agent Grant Robbins: teach movie star Ryan Stiles how to mime piano playing for his next film. Stiles, known primarily as an action star, has a lot at stake with this indie, low-budget film, and mounts a full-court charm press on Evan and his longtime girlfriend, Andie Lawrence. He puts up Evan in his lavish home, sweetens the deal by offering Evan the chance to score the film, and even hires Evan's cop pal Danny Cooper as a technical consultant. But Andie, who's an FBI Special Agent, sees something off and tightly wound beneath bad boy Stiles' affable exterior. It doesn't take long for Evan to see it too, for example in the abusive way he treats his girlfriend Melanie. Still, Evan and Stiles settle into a work routine and Evan warms to Stiles' diligence in spite of his apprehensions. These apprehensions get a shot in the arm when Stiles tangles with Darryl McElroy, an aggressive paparazzo. Worries about a lawsuit loom just when Stiles needs to focus most on the film. And when McElroy is found dead, it falls to Evan to ferret out the truth, even if it means losing both his golden opportunity and his new famous friend.
A mystery marked by tight plotting, a brisk pace and a satisfying solution.