by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.
Turn on the television at any time and it’s impossible not to see some young star actor/musician gyrating or getting arrested and think, “You’re going to regret this in twenty years.” Well, that’s something familiar to Sally Carpenter’s hero in her Teen Idol Mystery series, and while Sandy Fairfax may not enjoy his fall from celebrityhood, readers surely will in this follow up to his debut that explores our fascination with celebrities and their struggle to maintain their status.
In the 1970s, Sandy Fairfax was a pop music teen idol and star of his own television show, Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth. Twenty years later, Sandy is a recovering alcoholic, divorced, estranged from his children and struggling to make a career comeback. His latest attempt has him guest-starring on the failing 1990’s television sitcom Off-Kelte, starring Harv Brandon, the former fatherly star of a sitcom, but who has since been unable to recreate the magic that made him an icon.
Television may have changed for Sandy, but the back-biting and in-fighting has not, and there is no shortage of egomaniacs and ambitious actors on set. When one of the lead actresses who managed to incite rage in nearly everyone in the cast and crew gets herself murdered, Sandy puts on his boy detective hat to solve the mystery. Sandy discovers that the lovely Elsie Bloom was not-so-lovely off-set, had no shortage of enemies and little reluctance in wielding secrets for her own gain. Sandy must also constantly confront the unwelcome realization of how much has changed since he was a star, and his ego is chipped away as he finds himself at the bottom of the star-powered ladder. Juggling the star who has his own hidden secret, a director who seems intent on orchestrating Sandy’s demise, twin tween starlets with an obligatory stage mother, an aggressively assertive dwarf co-star and even a canine actor, saving his career will come secondary to managing to save his own life.
The fun in this novel comes from the behind-the-scenes peak into the filming of a nineties television show and watching the clash of titanic egos as actors, directors and writers all battle for lines and power to create what most of them acknowledge to be an abysmal show. Sandy has his own personal struggles as he attempts to rebuild his family relationships, but this never distracts from the strong main plot. Fun writing, eccentric characters and a very interesting setting make this an enjoyable and humorous read for fans of Hollywood and showbiz mysteries.
To enter to win a copy of The Sinister Sitcom Caper, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Sitcom,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 25, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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