Disclosure: I received a copy of this book via LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for reviewing it on LibraryThing.
Dusted to Death
The plot: Charlotte's been called in to keep an eye on the house of one of her more difficult clients while they shoot a movie there. Amid the drama queen leading lady, her intimidating bodyguard, an attractive older male actor and the chaos of filming in an older New Orleans home, there is a messy murder. Not only does it ruin a rug, it might ruin the movie.
Charlotte is a multi-faceted character, what with some romance with her next door neighbor, problems with her son, and the realities of not being a twenty something who spends all of her money on shoes, handbags, and fancy dates. Brought in to mind the movie set and make sure none of her client's "treasures" are destroyed, she gets an interesting look behind the scenes of film-making. She has a crush on the leading man, an older actor whose heartthrob status has lasted and his gentlemanly nature only wins him more brownie points.
The book focuses behind the scenes on not only the actors but the people whose names only fly past up on the credits: prop masters etc and the creepy paparazzi that orbit that world. It's nice to get a sense of their frenzy, frustration, and planning.
Though I could tell I'd dropped into the middle of the series and probably wasn't fully grasping the implications of all of the references, the book was able to stand by itself without a lot of filler backlog giving me history of books I hadn't and might not ever read. I really liked that. The romantic aspect was really obvious, but it didn't detract from the book. I got the sense that it would have been more well rounded had I read other books in the series.
The biggest issue I had with the book was the film's leading lady Angel's, whose "real life" presented some confusion insofar as her age and personality. She is supposed to be in the role of a young engenue, playing a younger girl, but the various descriptions given of her background seemed to add up to someone closer to 30. It seemed like too much had happened to her for her still to be playing a Catholic schoolgirl.That jarred me out of the story a bit. She also was fluxtuating a little too fast between being a sweet girl under pressure and being a royal Hollywood party girl diva. Her secret past required just a little too much abandoning of reality--particularly in this day and age where it's hard to keep ones past buried.
An enjoyable cozy mystery and, from the ending, one where I would be interested in going back and finding out some of the previous events leading up to it. Just as soon as I wade through my reading basket.