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    Review of KEEP IT REAL by Bill Bryan (see his website)

    Bleak House Books, May 2007

    Ted Collins hit rock-bottom after his wife left him, taking with her the movie rights to his Pulitzer-prize-winning article. From the peaks of investigative journalism, he's now a low-level producer for a truly horrible reality TV show. He's also still filled with anger at his wife and her new husband. That anger has resulted in his being denied any unsupervised visitation with his daughter.

    When he oversees a conflict between a hip-hop star and the star's beautiful girlfriend--a model who vanishes shortly afterwards, Ted sees a possible road back to investigative journalism. In a celebrity-obsessed society, this is the kind of article any newspaper would sell its soul for. The problem of how to investigate when he doesn't even know the hip-hop star is solved by using his reality TV show--and making the hip-hop artist an integral part of the show. With a host of cameras on the scene, Ted is certain he'll be able to get to the truth. Maybe he'll even get lucky with the pretty detective assigned to look for the missing model.

    Author Bill Bryan is at his best as he skewers the American media, with its concentration of self-proclaimed geniuses, its anything for a buck mindset, and its concentration on humiliation as the ultimate in entertainment. Bryan also manages some pithy observations on relationships between men and women, and on racial relationships in America. I found myself laughing out loud a number of times as I read through this entertaining and well-written story. Bryan is definitely an author to watch.

    I would have liked to see a bit more concentration on the mystery, at least some additional investigation to bring up evidence to point at hip-hop star, Boney. Without that, the twist at the end of the novel didn't have quite the impact it could have. Still, I'm happy to recommend KEEP IT REAL as a fast-moving and compelling mystery--as well as an insightful look into the world of glitz, Hollywood, and reality TV.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 8/13/07

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    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

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