The latest novel in the Detective Kathy Mallory series.
On opening night of a Broadway play, a woman dies from a heart attack in a front-row seat. On the second night, a man’s throat is cut—again, in the front row. “Oh, crap. Not again,” moans a thespian. But the publicity is great—“a play to die for,” crows the press. NYC detectives Mallory and Riker investigate, and they discover a full cast of strange people backstage—coke users, an actor with multiple personalities and a mysterious ghostwriter changing every line of the play. Because of the deaths, the play doesn’t get past Act 1 for the first several performances. As for the novel itself, it’s mainly a vehicle for showing off Mallory’s odd personality. Sure, she’ll get to the bottom of the violence, as all fictional detectives do. What makes her distinctive is the way she gets under the skin of friends and enemies alike—oh, wait, it’s not so clear she has friends. She is consistently smarter than everyone else and routinely shows people up. OK, she went to a police academy, not charm school, and she’s damned good at her job. This is a well-constructed mystery featuring an occasionally annoying heroine—at least one character would love to knock her head off with a baseball bat, while some readers may wish she would make some arrests and get it over with, already. The dialogue is clever, and the scenes are well-done, but somewhere in the middle, the story starts to drags. Pacing isn’t paramount, and it’s more important to showcase Mallory’s talent for outsmarting people.
Mallory fans won’t be disappointed in her latest adventure, even though sections of the book could have been tighter.