UP NEXT by Nancy Star


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A debut outing for neophyte sleuth May Morrison—a divorced, loving mother of two small girls, and the newly promoted producer of the Paula Live talk-show. May’s life is hectic—what with commuting from Manhattan to her old Victorian house in New Jersey, a money pit in constant need of repair; dealing with a succession of unsatisfactory au pairs; meeting the demands of bosses Paula Wind and executive producer Gil Lee; and doing the ratings battle with rivals like Tell Tanya and Simon Says. Now, James Barnett, a producer on Simon Says, has jumped to his death from the balcony of his lush apartment--apparently a suicide, but Police Detective Paul O’Donnell and his abrasive partner Paradiso are haying doubts. Which is not surprising when Barnett’s demise is followed by the strangling of Tell Tanya producer Iris Ehrlick and, soon after, by the discovery of Chuck Mills, fired from Paula Live some months back, who’s found dead in Paula’s studio bathroom. Paradiso, for various insufficient reasons, has pinpointed May as a major suspect, over Detective O’Donnell’s objections; but after yet another killing--the victim this time one of the Paula Live staff—May starts investigating in earnest, with near-fatal results. An over-the-top, overpopulated plot that zigzags wildly, and confusingly, as the author paints an entertaining, gossipy picture of the world behind the cameras. The picture of her heroine--a truly caring mother taking insane risks to trap a killer--is also completely unconvincing. No shortage of writing talent here, then, but it just needs to get real.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-671-00893-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1998