POPPED: A Regan Reilly Mystery
Set in Las Vegas, Clark's seventh Regan Reilly mystery (after 2002's Jinxed) takes aim at all sorts of eminently spoofable targets, including reality TV shows, advice columnists and screen actors. Regan answers a plea from a grade school chum who's involved in a contest where someone isn't playing by the rules. The owner of the Balloon Channel (aka Hot Air Cable) is sponsoring a contest between two groups—one developing a pilot for a sitcom, the other for a reality TV show. Both, according to the whimsical rules of magnate Roscoe Parker, must have a ballooning theme. The winning group gets its show on the air and a $1 million prize. Regan's friend Danny Madley is trying to put together the reality show, with a couple of assistants, six contestants and a couple of advice columnists. Then there's the cast of the sitcom and its producer, as well as Roscoe, his girlfriend and his assistants. Even Danny's parents show up to meddle or help, as does Danny's ex-girlfriend. The wealth of eccentric characters would be at home in a Dickens novel, but is too much for this slender volume to support. While Regan attempts to figure out who's doing what to whom, Roscoe continues to add obstacles to make the competition more exciting. It all adds up to zany, if not particularly brilliant, fun in the desert, with an ending series fans will love. (Sept. 23)
FYI:With her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, Clark is the coauthor of He Sees You When You're Sleeping and Deck the Halls.