cover image Kill Me Again: A Scott Elliott Mystery

Kill Me Again: A Scott Elliott Mystery

Terence Faherty. Simon & Schuster, $22 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-684-82688-2

In such previous titles as The Lost Keats, Faherty gave heart and soul to academic, potentially dry topics. In this series debut, he starts with a jazzier premise but is markedly less successful at making it vital. Former actor Scott Elliott now provides hired security in post-WWII Tinseltown as a major studio gears up to shoot the sequel to a blockbuster movie that strongly resembles a real film starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. The screenwriter is boozy and jaded; the producer is driven and brilliant. A secret communication suggests a Communist past for the writer, and, as the House Un-American Activities Committee focuses its spotlight, Elliott is called upon to investigate. The writer dies; authorship of the valuable screenplay is quickly questioned; and hidden pasts of all key players soon matter. Elliott is an affable enough soul, but Faherty doesn't give any new spin to the material of red scares, Casablanca and period Hollywood lore that Stuart Kaminsky and George Baxt have previously put to generally good use. (May)