THE ACTOR'S GUIDE TO MURDER
A struggling '80s child actor on the brink of a career revival, Jarrod Jarvis shelves his audition schedule to solve the murder of a good friend in screenwriter Copp's pumped-up, promising debut. When a psychic delivers a "death card" premonition, Jarvis is only mildly perturbed until he discovers childhood friend Willard Hornsby face-down in his lap pool. The "obsessed conspiracy theorist" in Jarrod takes over and he's convinced of foul play. The "Sherlock Holmes of West Hollywood" picks up lots of clues during a secret search of Willard's home, but becomes the newest darling of the tabloids when he gets himself arrested. He's also in hot water with his police officer boyfriend, Charlie, who wants Jarrod to drop the private-dick act. More clues lead to a deadly tattooed hustler and to Willard's mother, Tamara, whose companionship with hunky, 20-something Spiro raises more than eyebrows. Both the public disclosure of Willard's HIV status and the murder of his therapist pile on even more suspects. Another psychic vision leads to a showdown in Palm Springs and a surprise network sitcom gig for Jarrod. Though Copp stays well within standard gay-fluff boundaries, the story has considerable zest and enough spritely humor to keep readers glued and giggling. (Nov. 4)
Forecast: With his Hollywood connections—he's written for such TV shows as The Golden Girls, Wings and Secret Agent Man—and blurbs from such established authors of lighter mysteries as Laura Levine, Laurien Berenson and Dean James, Copp should get off to a strong start.