BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, August 29, 2011

Giveaway & Review of "The Bad Always Die Twice" by Cheryl Crane

Publisher: Kensington

Release Date: August 30th, 2011

Series: #1 in Nikki Harper series

More Info: Amazon     The Book Depository

Book Blurb (from Amazon):

Set in Hollywood, The Bad Always Die Twice is the first of a wildly entertaining series set amidst the bright lights, big egos, and Botoxed brows of Hollywood. It is partly the glitz and glamour of Jackie Collins novels and partly the LA streets of hard-boiled James Ellroy.

Who better to tell this tale than Cheryl Crane, daughter of Hollywood legend Lana Turner and actor-restaurateur Joseph Stephen Crane? Cheryl was involved in the Johnny Stompanato scandal of the same period. She allegedly killed the hoodlum because he threatened to kill her mother.

This mystery features Nicki Harper, the daughter of a screen goddess, who is raised in a completely dysfunctional home populated by a cast of crazies but who did not follow in her mother's footsteps. Instead, Nikki is a real estate agent who wants a quiet, comfortable life with a little love and happiness thrown in.

Up until now, Nicki always thought that dead meant dead. But then, film icon Rex March turns up freshly murdered in the bed of Nicki's best friend after being reported dead six months ago. A little distrustful of law enforcement, Nicki feels compelled to solve the murder on her own. Her acquaintances range from the pinnacle of Hollywood royalty to the bottom of Tinseltown's barrel, including a not-so-grieving widow, a conniving younger lover, a best friend with secrets, a jilted mistress, a ''closeted'' confidante, a wacky neighbor, and a scheming business partner. Rex has a gaping hole where his eye used to be, and Nicki knows a lot of people with motives for the murder. The killer is getting ready for a repeat performance, so Nicki must act fast before her own screen fades to black. 

My Thoughts:

I admit, I was curious to see what Ms Crane would come up with. She has a heck of a back story of her own and there are certain similarities between the main character and Ms Crane. There's a saying for writers, "Write what you know" and Ms Crane took that to heart. She sets the story in Hollywood, the lead is a daughter of blond bombshell movie star and there are vague references to her father being murdered and hints that she may have been involved. That said, Ms Crane used those familiar events and places to write a story all her own.

The blurb describes the story as "partly the glitz and glamour of Jackie Collins novels and partly the LA streets of hard-boiled James Ellroy." I'm not a fan of hard boiled detective mysteries so I had some qualms about how well I'd enjoy this; to be honest, I didn't find it to be a hard boiled mystery at all but more Joan Collins writes a cozy mystery set in Hollywood. That's an odd sounding blend, I grant you, but it works.

It has all the earmarks of a cozy, except that it's set in the big city of Hollywood: a female lead who is not a law and order professional, likable characters, eccentric or slightly unusual secondary characters, somewhat fast paced with twists and turns (there were a number of red herrings throughout the story), a good friend with access to police reports (I really hope that we'll see more of Marshall and Rob in future books. I loved them!) and no graphic violence, no profanity (there was one crude, but very funny and quite descriptive sentence, but overall, a "clean" book), and no explicit sex.

Nikki, despite her background and her comfortable lifestyle, really seems like she could easily be your next door neighbor or the woman you say hi to each morning at the coffee shop. She has a level head and is very loyal. It's that loyalty that sets her investigation in motion. She's worried about her friend and co-worker Jessica being charged with murder and she doesn't trust the police so she conducts her own investigation. Crane hints at the reasons for Nikki's distrust but keeps it vague; I found that frustrating at times as that distrust is key to Nikki's investigation. I am hoping that she will address it more directly in the next book.

Nikki quickly realizes that conducting a murder investigation is hard work and she doesn't know what she's doing. Fortunately, she's open to advice and willing to ask for help. Her mother, semi-retired movie star Victoria Bordeaux, is against Nikki's involvment, as it would be scandalous, but that doesn't stop her from helping. Indeed at one point, she nearly takes over. Nikki doesn't hesitate to make use of her fame, her mother's fame, or her mother's connections to clear her friend's name.

Victoria borders at times on being stereotypical but then Crane will flesh her out with little details; my favorite was the telephone conversation between her and the 80 year old grandmother of one of Nikki's informants. Victoria manages to be gracious and down to earth at the same time, trading recipes even as she admits that she's never made potato salad and will have her housekeeper do it.

Crane has a light, easy writing style and manages to drop the occasional brand name or celebrity name while still keeping the story from feeling trendy or dated. That could be a problem with a series set in Hollywood but she avoided it.

The story dragged a little at times, mostly in the middle and the ending was a let down. The final confrontations are very staged and suffer from deux a machina. During the course of the story I kept changing my mind about who the murderer was but I kept going back to one name and it turned out that I was right. Crane takes a circuitous route, with twists and turns and red herrings and just when you think you've figured it out, WHAM! another surprise.

This was a pleasant, engrossing, enjoyable book and I'm looking forward to more in this series.

I received this ARC from the publisher for review. 

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Giveaway!

Thanks to Judy at Meryl L Moss Media Relations, I have one print copy of this book for a lucky commenter. 

 Entry is simple. You don't need to be a follower, though I won't complain if you are or choose to be.  :P

Entry is only open to US & Canadian residents only. 


Leave a comment and a way to contact you. You can use the contact form for your contact info if you would rather not put it in public but you NEED to leave a comment or you you won't be entered.


The giveaway closes this Saturday, September 3rd, at 11:59pm EST. I'll use random.org to choose the winner.

Don't forget to read my
Giveaway Policy

That's it! Good luck :)


5 comments:

  1. I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am a follower GFC as veltara
    Network Blogs as Aurora M.
    I would love to win this book! Thanks for the chance.
    veltara(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hope I'm not too late not sure about the timezones
    Thanks so much for the giveaway
    vivianmah8(AT)hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, sorry. I have several reviews a week and giveaways every so often so come back again. There may be something that you like.

    ReplyDelete

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