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by Alison Gaylin
Onyx, August 2008
368 pages
ISBN: 0451412605

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Simone Glass has long been in the shadow of Greta, her older sister. Greta is a star reporter on a cable network not unlike CNN. Simone, with her new journalism degree, has decided that she and Greta need at least 3,000 miles between them and has accepted a job with a paper in Los Angeles. Greta is sure Simone is making a big mistake, but her little sister can't wait to get out of town.

Unfortunately, as Simone is driving across country, the paper, along with Simone's job, folds. When she arrives in LA and her dingy new apartment that she rented sight unseen, Simone has no job and little money. She takes a job as a tabloid reporter for a somewhat dubious publication. On her first assignment, she is sent out with one of the other reporters to go through a movie star's trash. Then the next day she is sent to infiltrate another star's home as a member of the catering staff. On another assignment, she has to hide out in a dumpster in order to get a story. Suffice it to say, this is not the glory she was dreaming of when she set out from New York.

But Simone is a hard worker and she knows she is a good reporter, so she throws herself into the new job. When a former movie queen's death is ruled a suicide, Simone hears rumbles that it might have been murder and she sets out to investigate the rumors. In her efforts to get to the truth, she encounters a number of unsavory characters, mostly members of the Hollywood elite.

Simone is a very likeable character in a very sleazy profession. The story is all, no matter what must be done to get the "scoop." Even putting one's life in danger is all in a day's work to a Hollywood tabloid reporter. Yet we root for Simone and this suspense-filled novel works even without many admirable characters.

It would be safe to assume that the writer, and Edgar Award finalist, has more than a passing acquaintance with contemporary Hollywood. While there may be much to dislike about the tabloid media, there is a lot to like about Simone.

Reviewed by Lorraine Gelly, April 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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