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The Actor's Guide To Murder Hardcover – November 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758204957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758204950
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A struggling '80s child actor on the brink of a career revival, Jarrod Jarvis shelves his audition schedule to solve the murder of a good friend in screenwriter Copp's pumped-up, promising debut. When a psychic delivers a "death card" premonition, Jarvis is only mildly perturbed until he discovers childhood friend Willard Hornsby face-down in his lap pool. The "obsessed conspiracy theorist" in Jarrod takes over and he's convinced of foul play. The "Sherlock Holmes of West Hollywood" picks up lots of clues during a secret search of Willard's home, but becomes the newest darling of the tabloids when he gets himself arrested. He's also in hot water with his police officer boyfriend, Charlie, who wants Jarrod to drop the private-dick act. More clues lead to a deadly tattooed hustler and to Willard's mother, Tamara, whose companionship with hunky, 20-something Spiro raises more than eyebrows. Both the public disclosure of Willard's HIV status and the murder of his therapist pile on even more suspects. Another psychic vision leads to a showdown in Palm Springs and a surprise network sitcom gig for Jarrod. Though Copp stays well within standard gay-fluff boundaries, the story has considerable zest and enough spritely humor to keep readers glued and giggling.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Just as much fun as your favorite sit-com. I wish I could visit with Jarrod and friends every week."

More About the Author

Rick Copp was two years out of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts when he was tapped at 24 years old to become a staff writer on the enormously popular NBC sitcom The Golden Girls in 1988. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, especially for a boy from Bar Harbor, Maine, who grew up dreaming of living underneath the famous Hollywood sign, a dream that became a reality soon after his arrival in Los Angeles.

He spent the next five years writing for a number of series including the critically acclaimed and commercially successsful hits NBC's Wings, FOX's Flying Blind and HBO's Dream On.

In 1995, he teamed up with screenwriter Laurice Elehwany, who wrote the popular MaCauley Culkin comedy drama My Girl and together they co-wrote the big screen TV remake The Brady Bunch Movie, which was a major box office hit for Paramount Pictures. This led to many more feature writing assignments for Universal, Warner Brothers, Imagine Entertainment, The Jim Henson Company among others as well as uncredited rewrites on Howard Stern's Private Parts and The Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas.

But Rick has also stayed very busy in television co-creating and executive producing a campy, fun TV revival of the '80s David Hasselhoff hit Team Knight Rider where he also played the recurring role of Clayton the Chef. He's written for a wide variety of series including Secret Agent Man, Barbershop, executive produced by Ice Cube, and Jack of All Trades starring Bruce Campbell. He's created and written many television pilots for most of the major networks including ABC, CBS, MTV, Lifetime, USA, Nickoleon and Logo including two produced one hour prime time mystery pilots Homewood P.I. for CBS starring Tony Danza and Soccer Moms for ABC starring Kristin Davis. Recently he's written five episodes of the late night Cinemax anthology crime series Femme Fatales under the pen name Richard Hollis, which also provided him the opportunity to return to acting playing a befuddled professor in three episodes. Acting is a hobby Rick still loves to indulge.

Rick has always kept a strong presence in children's television programming as well, which began with him co-writing the popular animated feature Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost. Its success led to him writing multiple episodes of the Cartoon Network smash hit Teen Titans as well as story editing the first season of Warner Brothers' Loonatics Unleashed. His passion in life is traveling so it was a special treat for him to work abroad on another successful animated series called Chi Rho -The Secret produced by Cross Media and broadcast by KiKa in Germany.

In 2001, Rick decided to fulfill another goal and write a mystery novel. He had been playing around with a character named Jarrod Jarvis, a former child star on a hit '80s sitcom called Go to Your Room! who had his very own catch phrase, "Baby, don't even go there!" Jarrod's unbridled curiosity led him to investigate a series of sordid Hollywood murder mysteries in between acting audtions. The first book The Actor's Guide to Murder (Kensington, Nov 2003) was very well received and was followed by two sequels The Actor's Guide to Adultery (Kensington, Nov 2004) and The Actor's Guide to Greed (Kensington, Nov 2005), which was nominated for a LAMBDA Literary Award for Best Mystery. He wrote a stand alone book called Fingerprints & Facelifts (Kensington, July 2007), an homage to his favorite TV series as a child, Charlie's Angels. A crack team of female private investigators known as the LA Dolls, who had a very successful detective business in the late '80s were long retired and living separate lives, but were forced to reunite when someone from their past began targeting their children. Lifetime Television optioned the book for a TV movie and hired Rick to adapt his own novel as a teleplay.

Another childhood obsession of Rick's was collecting comic books and he was able to realize yet another dream by writing a graphic novel Celebrity Zombie Killers (Ape Entertainment, March 2010), best described as "a twisted, hilarious mash-up of MTV's The Hills meets 28 Days Later."

In 2010, when Rick's sister won an award for her cooking column in their hometown's local paper, he saw an opportunity. He writes mysteries. She writes recipes. Combine the two for a new book series. And the Hayley Powell Food & Cocktails Mystery series was born. The brother and sister writing team are collaborating on three books under the pen name Lee Hollis, Death of a Kitchen Diva (Kensington, March 2012), Death of a Country Fried Redneck (Kensington, November 2012) and Death of a Coupon Clipper (Kensington, 2013).

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Judith Lindenau on August 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
That's it! As I read through this in an afternoon, that's what I was thinking: this mystery reminds me of every sitcom I knew and loved, and some I didn't. It's funny, but it plays for the quick guffaw, not the introspective chuckle. And sometimes it plays for the slip-on-banana-peel howl. It's an amusement of the shallow variety--good entertainment without much involvement. And if that's your mood--it's good at what it does. And there are no commercials.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Hodges on January 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When 1980s teen icon Jarrod Jarvis is caught kissing another boy at the L.A. Gay Rodeo, "his star fades faster than a Kathie Lee Gifford CD" according to the dust jacket. That blurb alone convinced me to pick up the book and check out the first chapter. Boy, am I glad, too. Finally, a gay mystery that features characters who happen to be gay. The self-deprecating humor and vicious in-jokes made me chuckle aloud--a rare feat when I read. The story itself is standard cozy mystery fare, and I identified the killer halfway through, yet, unlike with other mysteries, once I thought I had the killer pegged, I still wanted to read to see how our hero figured it out.
Well written, breezy, with memorable characters and a terrific sense of humor. Recommended for all but the homophobic right-wing uncle we all have....
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris got together with Sue Grafton and Agatha Christie, the result would probably be something very close to Rick Copp's fabulously entertaining debut novel, "The Actor's Guide To Murder".
Every once in a while a new voice in fiction comes along and spins an old genre in an exciting new direction. Copp does this brilliantly: refracting the classic mystery franchise formula through prism of smart social satire that is so effective because it's never caught trying. The mystery is full of fun twists, the characters are quirky and real, the Hollywood setting vivid. Most of all, the book is knee-slappingly funny. What more could you ask for...? (Except, perhaps, his next book!)
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jak Klinikowski on February 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Actor's Guide to Murder by Rick Copp is a wonderfully entertaining read, and a pretty darn good who done it as well. This charming story of a once famous child star determined to get to the bottom of his friend's death kept me burning the midnight oil. The book is full of interesting characters, and manages to maintain a good but not overblown sense of humor throughout. I was particularly fond of the twins, but I don't want to say any more about them, as I don't want to give anything about the murder plot away. I found the narrator and main character, former child star Jarrod Jarvis, to be well rounded and totally believable, and I found his butch but sensitive boyfriend Charlie the cop to be every gay man's dream...well at least mine. I love a book that has a strong and loving gay relationship at its core. The Actor's Guide to Murder does not disappoint on this score. With many an unexpected twist and turn, I found this book to be a fun filled ride through the murderous hills of Hollywood. I could not put it down! I highly recommend it.
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By James S. Thompson on February 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this book from the star of Where the Bears Are. Looking forward to the next installment in this series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished my first book by Rick Copp - and have two others waiting on my Kindle. He's a very clever, funny and engaging writer. I really enjoyed the book - although there are two details that might piss off some people...which I can't even list without potential spoilage.

Jarrod Jarvis is thirty. He was a huge childhood star (of the "Saved By The Bell" variety)...and when his star faded, his parents invested well and he's fixed for life. He seems to have everything a gay man in Hollywood should want - looks, a beautiful house, a loving boyfriend (Charlie, who is a doll) and an adorable pet pekingese named Snickers.

He also has a close friend who's a psychic - and when she predicts a murder, and it happens, it derails his carefully balanced life. Thus begins a literal and figurative wild ride, across the geography of Los Angeles, and through the complicated memories of this young man's life.

Jarrod might be superficial to the reader at first - but he'll gladly admit his foibles and his weaknesses. I grew very fond of this man as he works his way to a solution to the mystery. For all his celebrity life, he represents a little bit of each of us in his quest for truth, justice, and faith in the power of love.

Can't wait to read the next two in the series, "The Actor's Guide to Adultery" and "The Actor's Guide to Greed." I'll keep you posted.
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