Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and mystery filled with humor
Cons: Romantic sub-plot is weak
The Bottom Line:
Looking for reward
Day gets involved in murder
A must read debut
Hit and Run Murder
Earlier this year, I started reading the Chicks on the Case blog, and through that I decided I wanted to read at least one book by all of the Chicks. (And yes, I’ve still got one I need to get to plus more books by the authors I’ve already read.) Kellye Garrett is the last of these ladies to have her debut novel published. Hollywood Homicide came out about a week ago, and it is wonderful.
Dayna Anderson, Day to her friends, has retired from acting after a successful career of one commercial campaign for a fast food company. As you can imagine, that didn’t line the pocketbooks forever, and she is hard up for money now. Making matters worse, her parents are going to lose their house unless Day can find a way to give them the cash they need.
Which is why the billboard catches her eye. The LAPD is offering a $15K reward for information leading to the arrest of the driver of a hit and run. The young woman who had been hit died at the scene. Day realizes she and her friends had actually driven by the scene not too long after it happened, so maybe they know something. This isn’t the worst things an actress in Hollywood has done for money, and it should be easy money, right?
Spoiler alert – it isn’t easy money. If it were, this would be a short story and not a novel. Of course, Day’s lack of experience as an investigator plays into her lack of ability to solve the crime quickly, but her stumbles and dead ends were completely realistic. Not that I would be much better about solving the crime than Day. In fact, at one point, I thought I had the killer pegged only to know I was wrong half a chapter later when Day decided that person was the killer as well. The ultimate solution is surprising and satisfying, and we get some fun twists along the way.
Meanwhile, the characters are wonderful. They are quite an assortment, yet they all come to believable life. I know there is more to some of them than we see here, and I can’t wait to get to know them better as the series unfolds.
My biggest complaint was with the romantic sub-plot. It all felt very Jr. High to me. Yes, it does play into the plot of the mystery, so I see the need for it. This is a very minor complaint overall, and I’d probably behave more like Day does than I care to admit, so I can’t criticize too loudly.
Do note that the content is pushing the edges of the cozy sub-genre in a couple of scenes. It’s nothing too graphic, and the scenes are played for laughs.
These aren’t the only scenes that are played for laughs. There are plenty throughout the entire book. As much as I am a Southern California Hollywood loving guy, I had to laugh at many of the correct observations made about my part of the country. The light tone made the book that much more enjoyable.
Hollywood Homicide is not only my favorite debut so far this year, but one of my favorite reads of the year period. Do yourself a favor and get this book today. You’ll be very glad you did.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.