LOVE, SEX, AND MURDER by Sue Cameron


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 Stunning improvement over gossip maven Cameron's first novel, Honey Dust (1993), though staying in the same starry venue. Despite her trashy title, Cameron leaps from bedsheet sniffer to first-class commercial novelist. When top Hollywood star Lauren Laverty (as beloved as Marilyn Monroe) is tied to her four-poster, raped and murdered, her six-year-old daughter, Nikki, is the first to find the body. Twenty years later, Nikki joins the entertainment law firm of her late mother's fiancÇ, Mark Ferguson, who treats her like a doting father. Nikki has at last buried black years of nightmares about her mother, but at the cost of keeping all men at arm's length. She detests entertainment law, so ``uncle'' Mark gives her a case that may release a young prisoner who has already served ten years for murder. DNA tests now prove his innocence. But Nikki's appeals in the California courts are denied; at last the Supreme Court itself allows her to plead the case. Ironically, Nikki discovers that DNA tests on the man imprisoned for her own mother's murder now prove him innocent. Then, while cruising in cyberspace, she inadvertently stumbles across the path of The Master, the real murderer. The climax: Nikki faces the nine justices of the Supreme Court, then The Master. Outstanding here are a gripping story, characters you can almost talk with, convincing business, legal, and computer detail, an immense variety of restaurants and mansions described with gusto, a playing down of melodrama (one murder on the first page, one gun drawn in the last chapter), and the tying of the novel's many steamy passages straight into the plot. Forget likenesses to such books as Grisham's The Pelican Brief, or films like Altman's The Player and Sandra Bullock's The Net. Entertainment law and the Hollywood power game here fall under the lens of a graphic intelligence that will keep you up like a pot of caffeine.

Pub Date: July 12th, 1996
ISBN: 0-446-51852-2
Page count: 352pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1996