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Beyond The Red Carpet (Hollywood Lies Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Unfortunately the research in this book is superficial. Real estate up on Mulholland - the drive that forms the spine that connects all the super wealthy neighborhoods of this town - is some of the priciest in the world and no mere assistant would be able to own a house there. The Pacific Coast Highway is not a freeway and therefore has no on and off ramps and Sophia would most likely have taken the 101 from the Hills to Malibu.
However, these details are not known by every reader and they are not really relevant to the story itself. But the way Sophia gets in and out of the Malibu spa did almost make me put the book down. An exclusive spa in Malibu would have a 6ft wall, a manned gate and cameras throughout the grounds. This is LA, paparazzi are everywhere. Perhaps she could have hiked out and in through a back gate but she could not have driven from and back to her cabana without at least the person at the gate knowing.
I’m glad I didn’t condemn the book on those grounds though, because the twisted, twisting story turned out to be very good. The writing is solid and the choice of telling the tale in alternating chapters of present day and events from the past - both storylines progressing chronologically - works well and takes the book out of the ordinary.
A very enjoyable read.
Why the puzzle? The story unfolds in two different time periods: now (from 2015 forward) and then (from 2004 forward), alternating chapter by chapter. As you read in one timeline and try to link it to future or past events, you must solve a puzzle.
The plot in a nutshell: The two main characters are Sophie and Marcus; a third is Cat, Sophie’s friend. As the story opens in now, Marcus and Cat have been murdered, police investigate, and Sophie may be suspect. So, what will happen to her? Flashback to then as Sophie falls for Marcus, a hunk of a movie director. They marry, are happy together, then unhappy as it appears Marcus has been unfaithful, they go along like that for years, both parties having their affairs, until . . . Jump forward to now. (Or loop back to the future.)
Lots of good stuff happens along the way—colorful Hollywood characters, plentiful sex and drugs, fancy dining, mansions and swimming pools, bad behavior, career success, and love, jealousy, and murder.
Questions as I read: At first, who killed Marcus? Later, who else was involved? Much later, will the guilty party get away with it? Much, much later, who put the hit on the guilty party?
At times, the writing could be a bit "flowery" and overdone with details to the point of losing interest, but this is totally expected from a debut author. What's not expected is the intense desire to continue turning pages because of such a strong storyline. Debbra Lynn did a phenomenal job with "Behind the Red Carpet" and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on book 2!
*One question that sits in my mind though is the pregnancy issue? Obviously Marcus had no problem impregnating the entire Los Angeles population, so what was the problem for he and his wife? Did I miss the reason behind why Sophia could not get pregnant?*
Sophia’s passion for life and love drives the novel, and her relationship with Marcus is spellbinding, a sizzling romance that has expected (and unexpected) ups and downs. Her friendship with Cat is touching and sincere, and their interaction is punctuated with great dialog and humor. Beyond the Red Carpet is a masterful blend of romance, glamor, and intrigue that’s hard to put down, a very satisfying read filled with cliffhangers.
The writing’s great, the characters are brilliant, and the whole story’s a roller coaster ride with unexpected twists and turns. This is Book One in the Hollywood Lies series. I can hardly wait for the second. Highly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
This was a good sized read, a long book, almost like someone going to tell you something important and then...Read more