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    Review of THE ACTOR'S GUIDE TO MURDER by Rick Copp

    Kensington, November 2003

    When the guest of honor doesn't show up for his birthday party, host Jarrod Jarvis gets concerned. His psychic had warned him that murder was in the cards and Jarrod fears Willard might be the victim. His fears seem to be confirmed when Jarrod, along with cop-boyfriend Charlie discover Willard dead in his hot tub. Even when the police determine that Willard's death was an accidental drowning, Jarrod can't give up on his psychic-induced certainty that the death was anything but an accident.

    Jarrod investigates into a Hollywood that seems to consist solely of gay men and straight women. As a former child-star, now trying to make a living as a serious actor, Jarrod has a bit of an in to many locations--but he's also a risk to himself and to Charlie because the tabloids are always happy to get pictures of an ex-star gone bad. And Jarrod's investigations lead him into more trouble than he had anticipated. The only thing is, if Willard's death really was an accident, why is someone warning him to back off? And between Willard's abusive mother, his hard-edged step-father, and the tatooed hustler who tries to drown Jarrod, there are plenty of people who resent Jarrod's investigation. Unfortunately, one of them is Charlie who figures he doesn't try to act and Jarrod shouldn't try to police.

    Author Rick Copp does a wonderful job portraying the Hollywood that lies under the glamour that we see on television and in the magazines. Stars sell themselves for a few bucks, let their egos be defined by today's role, and let the media define their relationships and their honesty. Copp's descriptions and dialogue are frequently laugh-out-loud funny and Jarrod makes a convincing and sympathetic character. Mystery readers are likely to guess the killer a long time before Jarrod does, but that doesn't keep this short mystery from being an enjoyable read.

    Warning for the easily offended, there is one scene of gay love.

    See more reviews of novels by Rick Copp.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 3/31/04

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