Friday, June 30, 2017

Review of "Hollywood Homicide" by Kellye Garrett

Like lots of gals in Hollywood, Dayna Anderson wanted to be famous, and she was.....for a while. The pretty black actress was the face of "Chubby's Chicken"commercials for two years, until they 'went in a different direction.' Since then Dayna has retired from acting, and supports herself with temp positions as best she can. This makes it tough for Dayna to buy gas for her Pepto-Bismol pink car or minutes for her pay-as-you-go phone. To save money, Dayna has even moved into a combination bedroom/shoe closet (bloset) in her friend's apartment.

When Dayna hears that her parents can't pay their mortgage and are about to lose their house, she has to find a way to come up with extra! So Dayna decides she'll try to collect the $15,000 reward for information on the hit-and-run murder of a young woman named Haley Joseph. Dayna realizes that she and her friends were in the vicinity of the incident, and actually got a glimpse of a speeding car. This is the start of Dayna's convoluted - and hilarious - investigation.

Dayna's friends - Sienna, Emme, and Omari - help with her inquiries. Sienna is a fashionista who's adept at hovering near celebrities when paparazzi are around, so she can get into the pictures; Sienna hopes to have a reality show some day. Emme likes to stay home in her roomful of computers, where she shops, plays online games, IMs people, and hacks into accounts; she's an identical twin to Toni Abrams - an Oscar-nominated actress who was People's most beautiful woman. And Omari is a handsome, budding television star that Dayna has crushed on since high school; when the actor makes a mini-pass at Dayna, she (inadvertently) freaks out.....much to her regret. Dayna also partners up with Aubrey S. Adams-Parker, a bicycle-riding ex-cop/private detective who wears a bright orange reflector suit.

While Dayna is trying to track down the hit-and-run driver who struck Haley, the cops are on the trail of a team of robbers nicknamed 'The Rack Pack' - who break into celebrities' homes and steal clothes, jewelry, and cash. Recently The Rack Pack targeted singer/rapper Kandy Wrapper and her basketball player boyfriend. Could their next target be Toni Abrams?

Dayna's quest to find the killer (and maybe romance) takes her all around Hollywood, including a consignment store, 'Clothes Encounters', where Haley worked; an auto mechanic shop; a movie premiere; a luxurious mansion; and the set of a TV show. Dayna also engages in break-ins, stake-outs, car chases, and foot pursuits - often in her Pink Panther stilettos.

To get the $15,000 reward, Dayna has to give her information to the police tip line, and her calls to the gum-snapping woman who monitors the line are very funny - especially since Dayna accuses one person after another of being Haley's killer.

Important secondary characters in the story include Haley's boyfriend - Victory; her co-workers - Betty, Natalie, and Marina; a Hollywood talent manager - Montgomery Rose; and Sienna's black, gay, male counterpart - 'Fab.'

The book has a refreshing angle on the cozy mystery genre because Dayna isn't trying to outsmart and outmaneuver the cops. She just wants the reward money, and maybe to get a killer off the streets. I like this approach, and look forward to more of Dayna's adventures.

To use one of Dayna's favorite words, I smiled a kajillion times while I was reading this book. Highly recommended to fans of cozy mysteries.

Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Kellye Garrett), and the publisher (Midnight Ink) for a copy of the book.

Rating: 4 stars

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