MURDER BY DESIGN: A Rick Domino Mystery

Jon P. Bloch, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $23.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-31312-8

Gay gossip columnist Rick Domino made a smashing debut in Bloch's spoof of the Oscars, Best Murder of the Year (2002). If this wickedly funny sequel doesn't quite match the same high standard, the author keeps the satire mostly on target as Rick lets the design experts of the do-it-yourself cable TV show My House, Your House make over his outdated living room. Rick soon finds not just his house but his life turned upside down. Playing the comic innocent is Terry Zane, an LAPD "junior detective" whom Rick befriended (and helped bring out of the closet) in Best Murder of the Year . At Rick's suggestion, Terry allows MHYH to make over his bedroom on the same episode. The program's quirky cast includes Aunt Fern (country-style, heavy on the crochet); Bill McCoy (aka Shirtless Bill), who used to design theme parks; and Helena Godiva, "a kind of Donna Reed with a whip." The carpenters who assist the designers are no less extreme. The show's volatile and promiscuous relationships turn deadly with the murder of Helena, whose body is discovered swaddled in fabric swinging from a ceiling fan in her motel room the morning after the crew decorates Terry's bedroom walls with police badges. Bloch may rely too much on his characters' odd sexual proclivities for laughs, but anyone who has watched a DIY program like MHYH should enjoy the book's warped take on such shows. (Mar. 8)

Reviewed on: 02/02/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4668-4028-7
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