Mystery meets romance meets noir meets caper in this overstuffed debut.
Beatrice Annabelle Starkey—Bea to her dearly departed grandmother, Muffinhead to her beloved parents in Palo Alto and Annabelle to most everyone else—is something of a faithful sidekick in the movie of her own life. When she meets Mickey Paxton outside a run-of-the-mill work convention, Annabelle has a feeling she’s about to make the transition to leading lady, especially when he spirits her off on a whirlwind trip to Las Vegas. No sooner have the two hit the strip than they are terrorized by Jake, a mysterious thug who holds them at gunpoint. Since Annabelle and Mickey have just met, neither knows which of them is the object of this unwelcome interest, and Jake isn’t forthcoming in answering questions. The two make a narrow escape in time to meet a series of kooky supporting characters, none of them clearly friend or foe, none of them what they seem. Especially after Annabelle’s quick call home indicates that even her San Francisco apartment is no longer safe ground, she and Mickey feel forced to uncover the reason for their recent rough treatment. A farcical series of events follows as Annabelle and Mickey put their new relationship to the test with their lives.
Though Annabelle’s obsession with movies does the story no favors, Burke’s debut features an appealingly offbeat set of characters caught up in a manic plot that’s likely to either charm readers or drive them crazy.