As Dead as It Gets

Cady Kalian, Author
Cady Kalian, Author . Forge $23.95 (349p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1364-5
Reviewed on: 08/29/2005
Release date: 08/01/2006

Screenwriter Kalian's sometimes frenetic, often funny debut introduces screenwriter Maggie Mars, who was a New York investigative journalist until a piece for Vanity Fair catapulted her to Los Angeles, where she serves as a board member of the Creative Artists Union (aka CAU, "irreverently known as COW"). Maggie is also working on a screenplay about an investigative reporter who's an alter ego. The novel's wonderful supporting cast includes Maggie's current boyfriend, a top-flight defense lawyer; a homicide cop ex-boyfriend, who's not entirely out of the romantic running; and a roommate who's a fount of Hollywood gossip. When CAU's executive director, Roger Urban, is found dead in the bathtub in an unoccupied house, wearing only a red garter belt and bra, Maggie goes into investigative mode on both coasts, takes some lessons from her alter ego and ends up with one of her dreams coming true. Kalian milks plenty of stereotypes, but does so with panache and enough originality to be refreshing. (Oct.)

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