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The Reporter (Maxi Poole Mysteries) Hardcover – March 14, 2002
The Amazon Book Review
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From Publishers Weekly
The best parts of Lange's (Gossip and Trophy Wife) mystery debut are when the veteran Los Angeles news anchor and Hollywood insider lets her roots show, dropping gobbets of showbiz lore into the otherwise thin broth of a bland story. When Lange's Maxi Poole a tall blonde whom we first meet (at the funeral of her ex-husband, actor Jack Nathanson) wearing "a short, bright red, zip-up sweater with a red-and-white tweed miniskirt" describes the furnishings at Nathanson's Benedict Canyon home, anyone who has ever read a People profile will recognize the artwork: "Bulky, bizarre sculptures on pedestals, cryptic drawings and gigantic pieces of Expressionism, bloody, gory scenes portraying people cut in half, phantoms, ghouls, the devil in many forms, human and animal freaks of nature." Likewise, Maxi's work methods when she talks to the homicide detectives investigating Nathanson's murder also ring bright and true: "Still, she expected to learn something from the conversation a tone, an attitude, a feeling that they were really on to something, or not." But these original moments only serve to make the rest of this flabby tale about which one of Nathanson's horde of ex-wives and lovers actually knocked him off sound more like an Entertainment Tonight recycle than a hot news item although readers might have some fun trying to figure just how close the conniving, kinky and fatally charming Jack Nathanson is to a real-life star with a similar name. Agent, Robin Rue. (Mar. 14)Forecast: With a four-city author tour and plugs from the likes of Sidney Sheldon and Dominick Dunne, Lange, a former anchor and reporter for L.A.'s KNBC-TV and a correspondent for the daily news show Women 2 Women, should get off to a fast start. Hollywood gossip fans could sustain the momentum.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Glamorous TV news reporter Maxi Poole attends the funeral of her "movie-superhero" ex-husband because she suspects that another ex-wife will be charged with his killing. Sure enough, police arrest beautiful actress Debra (ex-wife No. 1 and a friend of Maxi) at the burial. Believing Debra to be innocent, Maxi (ex-wife No. 2) throws her investigative reporting into high gear amid the dead man's debtors, spurned paramours, and other enemies. Ably painted with all the requisite glitz, gossip, media hype, and sex that attend a Hollywood production, this makes a welcome romp for all collections.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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We find out quickly that Jack had been a royal jerk. He had used and hurt everyone he came in contact with. This may be why he is buried in a clear lucite casket and the undertaker actually put a smile on his face. Picture clods of earth falling on that.
Though nobody seems particularly sad that Jack Nathanson is dead, there are a couple obligatory eulogies. In the middle of the speeches, though, the police arrive, sirens blaring, guns drawn. They are there to arrest Debra for the murder of Nathanson. Did I not mention that he had been shot? With Debra's gun? In Debra's house?
After comparing notes about their cheating ex, Maxi and Debra had become friends. So now Maxi determines to prove Debra's innocence. If only Jack was going to be the only one to die.
I enjoyed "The Reporter". There is humor sprinkled throughout, especially in the dialogue. There are also a lot of characters in pain, serious pain and serious situations. On the plus side, you will have a large cast of characters who hated Jack and could be the murderer.
I took off a star because the ending dragged and I was bored with the crazy-druggy characterization. It's too easy to make that type of person over-the-top and caricaturish. However, four stars for an otherwise engagingly written mystery. This is a pretty long book. My paperback is 352 pages, and it could have been trimmed without taking away from the plot or the characters..
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department arrest Jack first wife, actress Debra Angelo. His second spouse, TV reporter Maxie Poole refuses to believe that Debra committed the crime. Unable to allow an injustice to occur, Maxie begins to investigate the death of her former husband. She knew much of Tinseltown hated Jack, but not how many would willingly go out of character to put a couple of bullets into him. However, soon Maxie is struggling to prove her own innocence as more homicides follow.
THE REPORTER takes a Jackie Collins type novel and places it inside a who-done-it. The story line is at its best when it shines a gossipy light on Hollywood through Maxie's engaging inquiries. However, the problem with the tale lies in the original arrest of Debra on evidence that the Inquisition would have rejected as too insubstantial. The tale is a fun to read throwaway, as the plot is not quite Collins or a solidly based La-La Land mystery.
Author Kelly Lange, herself a well-established news reporter in Los Angeles, has written a mystery featuring a well-established news reporter in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, Ms. Lange offers wonderful background information for her story in addition to the actual plot.
THE REPORTER is frothy in content, but it also is plausible, and its setting is fascinating. The workings of the newsroom, as described by Ms. Lange, are particularly interesting.
Readers will come away with the sense of having been given a peek into the strange yet opulent lives of that group of people who, in Hollywood--and only in Hollywood--pass for the upper class.
Kelly Lange is poised to have a second career as a successful author.