Today we go to Cape Cod for a little movie magic - and murder! If you like cozy mysteries with a confident amateur sleuth then this will interest you.
Copyright: Feb 2010 (Berkley) 294 pgs
Series: 3rd in"Where Are They Now?" Mysteries
Mystery Sub-genre: Amateur Sleuth - cozyesque
Main Character: Tilda Harper, freelance journalist specializing in the formerly famous
Setting: Modern day - Cape Cod
Obtained Through: Publisher for an honest review
I had not read the prior two entries in this series but was able to jump right in and understand Tilda and her work easily. Tilda typically writes articles on formerly famous people in the "Where are They Now" features, but this time she is given the golden oportunity to interview John Laryea who is filming his latest movie. Tilda's ex-boyfriend's father owns the company handling security for the location filming and arranged for her to get a prime interview. Laryea had gotten his start on a Saturday morning kid's show.
The producer and director of the film are impressed with Tilda and ask if she would help them out. The movie is based on a comic book that only had 12 issues but has a strong cult following. The fans are already mad, claiming the movie isn't true enough to the original comic. They ask Tilda to please find the elusive writer who did his own illustrations cryptically named Leviathan.
Tilda makes a deal to do her best to find the original comic book author/artist in exchange for some interviews and a pass to the filming. This is why Tilda is still at the five-star resort Glenham Bars Inn when she witnesses Laryea and his assistant run down on the road. The assistant is killed and one of the security company employees is blamed. But Tilda doesn't think so and partners with her ex-boyfriend to prove it.
I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was drawn into the story. Even Tilda's search for the elusive comic book author/artist was interesting with the comic fandom brought to life. The setting of Cape Cod and Monomoy lighthouse was a good backdrop. The descriptions of filming and the harried tension to get a shot of a sunrise etc add to the overall story.
Tilda is a character I easily liked, she is self-disciplined and observant, which pays off for her. Tilda's keen insights into people play well as a writer and a sleuth. I didn't like her roommate and felt the home struggles didn't add to the story. It seemed counter to Tilda's character to be self-disciplined enough to make a living as a freelance writer and yet get a rather flaky roommate who brings nothing but conflict.
The character of her ex-boyfriend Nick is just realistic enough, a bit awkward at times but they are good to each other without petty baggage. The movie star John Laryea was interesting, a good measure of spoiled and insulated while showing a vulnerability that only Tilda seems to have figured out. Even the man blamed for the hit and run, Pete, is well drawn as a recovered alcoholic who fell off the wagon and is tagged as the culprit.
The confrontation of the killer has some good suspense to it. I had suspected who the killer was, but I mostly just sat back and enjoyed the journey. The wrap up had several good revelations - who the real Leviathan was and a door opens concerning Tilda and Nick to keep the reader coming back.
This was a very enjoyable read with a good mix of plot and characters against a great backdrop of Cape Cod. Give it a try, it might surprise you.