The creator of hard-nosed journalist Eve Diamond (Prisoner of Memory, 2006, etc.) tries something considerably more soft-boiled in this tale of an L.A. crisis manager whose latest assignment forces her to confront ghosts from her troubled past.
Years before she ever met her ex-husband, Steve Silver, and her cancer-stricken mother came to live with her, Maggie Weinstock was lifted up to heaven by her high-school classmate Anabelle Paxton. Through Anabelle, she got a glimpse of the storybook world that included her impossibly handsome brother Luke, her edgy artist mother Miranda and her father, California Senator Henry Paxton. But all that changed the evening someone slipped Maggie and Anabelle some Rohypnol. Estranged for years over the events of that fateful night, they’re thrown together again when the Blair Company, the pricey PR firm Maggie Silver works for, is called in by Paxton’s handlers after Emily Mortimer, the senator’s young media director, is found strangled in her Koreatown apartment. Along with the obligatory flood of revelations about Emily’s sexual dalliances and drug possession and senatorial brother Simon Paxton’s relation to them both, Maggie keeps turning up connections to long-hidden skeletons in the Paxton family closet, which is in important ways her closet too. As unlikely new suitors—dishy plastic surgeon Rob Turcotte, her Blair associate Matt Tyler, even diffident Luke himself—swarm around her, Maggie, whose hobby of collecting perfumes will provide a pivotal clue, realizes that her suspicions are focused increasingly on her all-too-efficient colleagues. But murder will win out, even if it’s Maggie’s own.
Don’t be scared. Hamilton’s take on the career-woman-in-distress formula is considerably gentler and glossier than Eve Diamond’s adventures.