In Grant’s debut novel, a young woman’s fascination with a Hollywood star affects her life in ways she never could have imagined.
For years, 21-year-old Jeanine DeValery has been in love with Danny Summer, a character from a book series, played in a series of films by movie star Jamie Newkirk. Jeanine, in her adolescent confusion, believes that God promised her that the actor—or the character he played—would change her ordinary Georgia life into something more romantic. When the author of the book series dies in a mysterious fire, Jeanine grieves but continues to believe in her destiny. Soon, her dream seems to be coming true, as Jeanine’s adored actor enters her life for real and seems to be falling for her. At the same time, she finds out about plans to restart the film series. But things aren’t as romantic and perfect as she had imagined: Jamie’s former girlfriend suspiciously dies, in the same house in which his mother apparently committed suicide two years before. Both women had similarly shaped burn marks on their skin. Jeanine soon finds out a host of strange things about the people involved in the film series, uncovering other mysterious deaths and battles over money and power. She also finds out that Jamie is keeping secrets about his family—but even after he’s arrested, Jeanine dedicates herself to proving his innocence. This complex story is told in lush, heated prose (“Heaven is as tangible as the taste of a juicy peach on a hot day, as easy and close as stepping out the school door and into another world at recess”), with a clear underpinning of Christian ethics (“Not once in the sleazy motel parking lot had [Jeanine] thought about what God wanted her to do”). Readers drawn to Christian fiction will find much to keep them turning pages. For secular readers, however, some of the story’s coincidences may be a bit difficult to believe.
A passionate, well-wrought mystery by a Christian novelist to watch.