Drop Dead Gorgeous

Dying to Have Her

Long, Lean and Lethal

Night of the Blackbird

Picture Me Dead



Tall, Dark & Deadly

Killing Kelly by Heather Graham
(MIRA, $7.99, PG) ISBN 0-7783-2277-7
Kelly Trent has been an actress in the long running and popular soap opera Valentine Valley. Throughout the years her character has morphed into a vicious advice giving diva, generating all types of mail and hate mail as well as genuine fan letters. In the prologue, the story opens as one of the nations top vicious advice-giving females is murdered. This crime is followed by the unexplained death of another female advice giver.

The reader is not surprised when during the filming of an episode Kelly falls through a mound of dirt and starts rolling toward a cliff edge. It being California, some thought it was because of the unstable dirt, others tied this freak accident to some of the hate mail death threats.

Soon thereafter Kelly finds herself on a four-month leave of absence; one demanded by the advertisers allegedly to protect her. Her agent sees it for what it is, a method to ease her out of the soap. Scrambling to protect her, he advises her to take the offer to perform in a music video. She is reluctant to do so because it requires dancing and that has not been her strong point.

The agent persuades her to meet the producer, director and musicians in Florida and to give it a chance. They hire Doug O’Casey, an ex-cop turned dance teacher to not only teach her to tango but also to protect her in the meanwhile. The video is to be filmed on a small island in the Florida Keys; one the producer has made certain is inaccessible to anyone not approved by him.

While Kelly is being taught to dance, there is another attempt on her life by a hit and run driver. The handsome, remote Doug O’Casey begins to take her seriously as well as the threats on her life, and the plot begins to pick up speed.

There are essentially two types of characters in this book. On the one hand you have an array of people who are obsessed with Kelly for different reasons, all set up as possible murderers. On the other hand everyone else seems to be a cop, ex-cop or someone related to law enforcement, all shifting to protect her.

The dialogue is characteristic of obsessors’ ranting and it becomes redundant in many places. Because of foreshadowing, the suspense plot becomes a little too predictable except for twists at the end, and the romance between Doug and Kelly proceeds along a predictable course as well.

The lives of actresses in soap operas, and actresses in music videos are exhibited in a more personal way in this story, giving the reader an insight into these industries. And there is an interesting sense of setting in the Florida Keys. However, predictability balances interest to create an average read.

--Thea Davis

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