Hollywood Homicide (A Detective by Day Mystery) – Kellye Garrett

(Reviewed by JD Jung)

Dayna Anderson lost her job as the girl on the Chubby’s Chicken commercial eighteen months ago and hasn’t heard from her agent in six months. So now she’s an out-of-work, dreaded size ten, former actress and dead broke. In fact, she sleeps in her friend’s closet, or “bloset” (bedroom/closet combo).

She can still take care of herself, but when she discovers that her proud parents are close to losing their house due to foreclosure, she desperately has to find a way to help them out.

A few weeks ago, she and her friends witnessed a hit-and-run but didn’t know the severity of it. She later saw a billboard offering a reward of $15,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person who ran down Haley Johnson, a young, blonde woman. This was the crime that they witnessed weeks before and Dayna sees this as a way to earn the reward money and save her parents’ home.

As Dayna finds clues and figures that she has solved the crime, she calls the tip line to claim the reward money, only to find that her “proof” is all wrong. This problem is further aggravated when she keeps calling as she comes up with new theories and thus loses credibility. Throughout all of this, she finds that there’s more to the crime than meets the eye. Instead of a hit and run, could this have been premeditated? It’s no longer just about the reward, she wants to find justice for Haley.

Though it was engaging and fast-moving from the start, initially I thought that this was too far-fetched to be enjoyable. After all, there must be an easier and less dangerous way to earn $15,000. However, my gut told me to continue, and I’m sure glad I did. As we read on, we learn more about Dayna,  a multitude of interesting characters and more crimes. This, along with all the twists and turns, kept me engrossed to the very end.

Unlike the last book I reviewed, Sex and Rage (a story of 1970’s Los Angeles), this is a current-day look at Hollywood with a fun take on contemporary culture such as social media, hair extensions and boob jobs.

Author Kellye Garrett—who worked in Hollywood for eight years, including writing for the television series, Cold Case— successfully incorporates dry humor into this crime novel.

I hope Garrett writes more stories about this “Detective by Day” whether Dayna makes it in superficial Hollywood or not.

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