cover image Bombshell


Stuart Woods and Parnell Hall. Putnam, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-08325-3

Set in Hollywood, bestseller Woods and Edgar finalist Hall’s brisk fourth Teddy Fay novel (after 2019’s Skin Game) finds former CIA operative Teddy alternating between two identities. A few minutes applying makeup and putting on a wig transforms Teddy from Billy Barnett, a movie producer, to Mark Weldon, a stuntman turned actor. This makes it difficult for gangster Gino Patelli, who blames Billy for his uncle’s murder, and Gino’s henchmen to locate Billy, who keeps disappearing on the set of a new movie featuring actresses Viveca Rothschild (aka the Blonde Bombshell) and Tessa Tweed. Viveca and Tessa have become friendly, but they’re also competing against each other at the Academy Awards. The stakes rise when Viveca’s boyfriend, an Afghan war veteran with PTSD, murders a gossip columnist Viveca has a problem with, and it becomes clear that more than one villain is plotting violence at the Oscars ceremony. Readers will cheer as Teddy thwarts anyone who dares to try to kill him. Realism isn’t the authors’ strong point, but they know how to tell a fun, exciting story. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit. (May)