Five Star, Jul 2004, 25.95, 238 pp.
True Hollywood Insider freelance writer Kenny Rubin suffers from bipolar disorder in which faces morph into famous sometimes-dead celebrities. Currently she is doing a story on the upcoming TV movie about the life and death of Melinda Rivers. Someone strangled the actress with her own panty hose five years ago, but no one was charged with the crime. Several suspects will “incestuously” work on the film as Hollywood exploits the tragedy.
During an interview with Melinda's former husband actor Terence Marcuso, Kenny turns manic. The writer and Melinda's former roommate Jocelyn Sumner takes Kenny home with her to play a tape she just found of what sounds like blackmail between the victim and perhaps her killer. While Jocelyn is on the phone, a mania driven Kenny leaves the house. When she returns, she finds Jocelyn dead and the tape gone. Terence arrives at that moment and calls the police.
A few days later, a “normal” Kenny blames herself for Jocelyn's death, as she left the door open for the killer to enter. She wonders if Terence, who conveniently arrived in time to enter the crime scene to call the cops, is the culprit. Though Detective Micklin insists she stay out of it, Kenny feels she owes a debt that can only be paid by bringing a killer to justice.
This engaging amateur sleuth works because of the unique heroine whose disorder will seem strange to readers who have not witnessed the impact of a mania-depressed person. The story line is fast-paced though the twin murders take a back seat to Kenny's bi-polar disorder. Jackie Diamond Hyman dexterously and with heart interweaves Kenny's condition throughout a wonderful Hollywood mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner