Bookbiz babe and sometime sleuth Sally Harrington (Expose, 1999, etc.) returns, with a cool new gig at a TV news program in Connecticut—and a hot new love.
Networking for all he’s worth, Spencer Hawes, an executive editor at Bennet, Fitzallen & Coe, Sally's former employer in New York, escorts her to a swanky Hollywood party to celebrate a studio head’s ghostwritten memoir. There, she meets Lilliana Martin, an enigmatic blond beauty on the verge of stardom, and proposes an interview. The bisexual Lilliana counters with a proposition of her own: a threesome. Sally angrily refuses, accusing the protesting Spencer of setting her up, and storms off back to New York. After a passionate night of kiss-and-make-up sex with Spencer, he disappears . . . and Sally is appalled to find out that copies of a videotape featuring steamy highlights of their tryst have been sent to everyone she knows. Who taped her? Why? And where is Spencer? Sally suspects that Lilliana may know, especially when the actress’s boyfriend comes looking for her—and is then found dead, shot mob-style twice in the head. Tracking down Lilliana, she uncovers a war between mob factions over a lucrative West Coast protection racket for movie-union biggies. Looks like the people she most wants to talk to have vanished into the federal witness-protection program under new identities. And who could be better at assuming a new identity than an actress? Spencer explains all when he finally resurfaces, after being beaten to a pulp and sent out to sea on a garbage barge. Sadder but wiser, Sally forgives him—and does her best to forget him.
Van Wormer plots with consummate skill, but her talky style lacks flavor, her knowing asides lack wit. Still: a carefully crafted mystery with a likable heroine worth a place in the increasingly crowded Connecticut suburbs.