Smash Cut Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Smash Cut

Julie Rutledge and Paul Wheeler meet weekly in a hotel room, until he is murdered while leaving the hotel and although she knows who did it, she cannot prove it without help. Julie Rutledge is a smart, successful gallery owner and she enjoys a healthy relationship with Paul Wheeler, although he is significantly older than she is. He is very wealthy, and although he is a widower, their relationship will not lead to marriage. However, she has gone to many functions with his family and they all get along reasonably well. The exception to that is his spoiled, rich nephew Creighton Wheeler, who is obsessed with movies.
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Julie soon realizes that there are many unanswered questions about the shooting, with the most obvious being that there is a marked similarity between the incident in the elevator and a famous movie. Desperate to force someone to listen to her belief that although Creighton had an alibi at the time of the murder, he was still responsible, she takes the bold move of seducing Derek Mitchell, the attorney she believes will be asked to represent the Wheeler family. By doing so, she hopes to create a conflict of interest that would mean he could not do so. She gives him a fake name, fake story and disappears immediately after.

However, after meeting the obnoxious Creighton, Derek declines to work for the family and might have even without the possibility of a conflict of interest. Creighton sends him more money, by wiring it into the account, which makes it look as if he agreed to represent him. Soon after, Derek finds his beloved dog, Maggie, killed in his bed in a scene that is also similar to a famous movie. Creighton meets with a man of questionable morals and intellect named Billy Bob, and pieces start to fall into place.

Meanwhile, Creighton is still doing his best to make it look like Julie instigated the murder, complete with producing a fake will that left her most of Paul's assets, which provides motive. He breaks into her house, primarily to show her that he can, and only moves things slightly. That way, she knows he was there, but cannot prove it or file theft charges. At first, Derek does not believe her, even though she fled to a hotel and had her home thoroughly cleaned, until Maggie is murdered.

Eventually, Julie and Derek make love again and the private investigator that works for Derek helps them stay one step ahead of law enforcement who are about to issue a warrant. The reader also learns that Creighton has both murdered and raped previously, with the rape allegation being swept under the rug when he was a teenager. He also used the plot from another movie to form the murder plan, in that he and a total stranger agreed to kill someone for the other person.

By being careful and because there was no motive, they hoped to get away with it. Billy Bob was the masked intruder who killed Paul Wheeler and now Creighton will kill Billy Bob's ex-girlfriend, Carol, who testified against him in court. He finds a woman, flatters her and sets up a date with her, but doesn't show. The woman was actually the friend and former roommate of Carol, and she unknowingly provided him with all of the information he needed to find her friend.

Derek and Julie figure out what is going on and arrive in time to save Carol. Creighton is arrested and soon, the last big secret is divulged. Paul Wheeler was not Julie's lover, he was her birth father. He and her mother had a brief, passionate affair and for a variety of reasons, could not be together. She was raised by her mother and step-father, and their visits were to get to know one another. When Paul's wife was alive, she could not have children, so they never wanted to flaunt the fact that he had a child to her.
Best part of story, including ending: I love the fact that it was fast-paced and the name is very appropriate. As soon as you think you know what will happen, the page turns and you are shocked to find out you were wrong.

Best scene in story: When we first met Maggie the dog, the details about her were so perfect. She was a Lab and obviously deeply loved. She accompanied him to Julie's gallery near the beginning of the book when he was trying to speak with her, after he realized she had lied about everything on the plane. She was very comfortable in public and interacted with everyone quite well.

Opinion about the main character: I really hate the fact that a smart, successful and intelligent woman thought she had to join the mile high club with a stranger in order to not be arrested for a crime she was innocent of. It was a great sex scene, but I do not feel like that was in fitting with her personality for the rest of the novel and was just very out-of-character.

The review of this Book prepared by Roberta Still a Level 7 Marbled Godwit scholar

Chapter Analysis of Smash Cut

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 30%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Moderately Challenging Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Special suspect?    -   relative Murder of certain profession?    -   "All in the family" murder Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   killer purposefully leaves puzzle clues    -   Big focus on forensic evidence Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   inheritance struggle Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   seduction/blackmail Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   crazed lover/family member

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   artist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   actual description of sex    -   descript. of breasts Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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