Monday, June 1, 2009

Review: Dial Emmy for Murder by Eileen Davidson

Dial Emmy for Murder is a soap opera murder mystery by the author of Death in Daytime.  A soap opera star herself, Eileen Davidson is best known for Emmy-nominated roles on The Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives

I did not read Death in Daytime, so it was with a blank slate and absolutely no expectations that I began reading Dial Emmy for Murder. I knew this was a mystery set in the wonderfully dramatic world of soap operas and it sounded like too much fun to pass up -- especially since the writer herself is a well-known soap opera actress. I was expecting excellent details on that front and that's exactly what I found -- what I was not expecting was the humor or how much I would enjoy Alex's voice. The humor and the fast, flowing dialogue are what caught my attention from Chapter 1. 

Dial Emmy for Murder is a murder mystery with Detective Frank Jakes as the investigator, but our real heroine is Alexis Peters. A soap opera star with a Nancy Drew complex, Alex finds more dead bodies than she shoots scenes and nothing deters her when she decides to go after that next clue.  

In fact, we meet Alexis Peters when she arrives at the Daytime Emmys where she is about to present an award with Jackson Masters, a hunky co-star, who is running late. But is he? Jackson's dramatic entrance is an attention getter and fits right in with the surroundings -- a grisly, if darkly humorous, start to this whodunit. 

Alexis is an Emmy winner soap opera star--but not a diva, please--she left "The Yearling Tide" after being accused of killing one of the writers and now works for "The Bare and the Brazen" where she happily plays dual roles.  Alex met gorgeous Detective Jakes during that whole "Yearling" debacle (Death in Daytime)-- they worked together on that case and she's more than a little attracted to him.  But poor Alex has more than a few problems -- she has a long-time boyfriend, Paul Silas, plus ex-husband Randy the creep who is threatening to make an appearance after years in exile.  Her plate is full and getting fuller by the minute; soon a killer will make it overflow.

Alex is nothing if not persistent in her sleuthing and it doesn't seem to be beneath Jakes to use the situation to gain Alex's attention. The man is smitten! He is so smitten that he places himself in a precarious position at work and with his very strange partner. He and Alex click well as partners in the mystery and as a romantic couple. I was rooting for sweet, hot Jakes all the way.

Between her very demanding job, a murder investigation she can't stay away from, personal decisions she must make and a budding romance, Alex hardly has a minute to rest or take a sip from a martini. Except, of course, when she's visiting her best friend George and his partner Wayne -- these two characters had some of the best lines and became my favorite secondary characters. Their conversations were full of wit and comfortable best friend banter. I ended the book wanting more George and Wayne, never mind a martini.

There is a large cast of peripheral characters in the story, however when it comes to secondary characters there are only a few. These characters make brief appearances, in addition to George and Wayne, we meet: Jakes' reluctant partner, Davis; Connie the ever-disheveled manager who is always looking to pimp Alex another gig; Alex's wise mother, Mrs. Peterson and her sweet, young daughter Sarah.  Even though their appearances were few and far in between, I gathered definite impressions of individual personalities and characteristics through their interactions with Alex, as well as from her internal dialogue. The story definitely centers on Alexis, Jakes, the developing romantic relationship and mystery solving, but these secondary characters are all an integral part of it as well.

There was one very predictable moment and one of those pesky contradictory details that some of us always seem to catch when reading mysteries. Neither was enough to deter from my enjoyment nor did they take me away from the story. The climax was fast paced, exciting, and humorous. Best of all there was a bit of a twist I did not expect; those are always the best.

I found Dial Emmy for Murder to be a fun, fast paced murder mystery with well placed humor and some very dramatic moments--most appropriate for this book. The writing flowed and the details on the entertainment industry were excellent--they were weaved into and became part of the events beautifully without overwhelming the story. I enjoyed every minute of this book and was a bit sorry when it ended. 

It seems as if Alex and Jake will continue their adventures; the next one begins at the Playboy Mansion and I will be following it.

Visit Eileen Davidson here

Originally posted at Musings of a Bibliophile on June 1, 2009

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