Shana J. Bogart, queen of Sacramento Talk Radio, chases a pair of elusive females: a jail-breaking diva and her own enigmatic mom.
Jasmine, the pop star and convicted murderer, is on the run, and the only one she’ll talk to is Shana J. (Murder Off Mike, 2003). How come? People want to know, especially Sheriff Maria Elena Perez of Monterey County. At first, Shana is as puzzled as anyone, even after the name Helen Hudson enters the conversation. Shana recognizes the name, of course: it’s her late mom, a hard-driving disciplinarian about whom she still has painfully mixed feelings. No such ambivalence in Jasmine, whose portrait of the lady as prototypical songbird and revered teacher rings no bells for Shana. But for the moment their disagreement is less important than Jasmine’s insistence that she never killed anyone, that she was set up, and that she needs Shana to help catch the scoundrels responsible. Ever-ambitious Shana sniffs the sweet smell of scandal, and she’s right. It’s a career-making story with roots in radio’s lurid payola days, when venal disk jockeys put their shameless propositions simply: “Ass, grass, or cash. Nothing gets played for free.”
Shana J. remains what she was in her debut: brash, bouncy, and adrift in lackluster plotting.