Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Warner Books
Release Date: July 2003
ISBN: 089296751X
Format Reviewed: Hardcover
Buy it at Amazon
Read an Excerpt
Genre: Mystery
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Kristin Johnson

Reviewer Notes: Kelly Lange is the author of The Reporter and an Emmy winner for Best Los Angeles News Anchorperson.

Kristin Johnson will release her second book, Christmas Cookies are for Giving, co-written with Mimi Cummins, in September 2003. Her third book, Ordinary Miracles: My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and Scientific Journey, co-written with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin, M.D., will be published by PublishAmerica in 2004.

The Dead File
By Kelly Lange 


     Former L.A. anchorwoman Kelly Lange does for broadcast news ("Network," anyone?) what THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA has done for the magazine industry in the Maxi Poole series. This is a delicious, wry Sandra Tsing Loh-esque take on L.A. and on our media-driven sound byte culture that's perfect for the beach.

      While the formula of plucky-investigative-reporter/amateur shamus is nothing particularly new, it works. There's a reason Clark Kent became a reporter. She may not be Superman, but Maxi has the access code for vitamin supplement queen and bitter half of a power couple, Gillian Rose's penthouse, where Gillian, whose famous blue eyes have mysteriously turned brown, lies murdered. Maxi shoots footage she isn't, strictly speaking, supposed to (surprise), but although it doesn't make the six o'clock news, it helps Maxi solve the crime in true deductive fashion.

      In terms of blood and gore, you won't find much here. Gillian's body, a few attempts on Maxi and on Gillian's not-so-grieving hubby Carter Rose, and the near-murder of Gillian Rose's faithful (but is she?) assistant, Sandie Schaeffer, are the casualties in this thriller. For most readers, this is more than enough, and it's refreshing to read writers who don't believe you have to write a serial killer to make a mystery gripping. (James Patterson, are you listening?)

     Lange's focus is on her familiar milieu, the give-and-take and frenetic energy of a TV newsroom, the witty banter between station manager Wendy Harris and Maxi, the determination of a plucky reporter armed with a few coincidences (her dad is a pharmacist!), plus plenty of emotional intrigue. Forget Carter Rose and his would-be wife, mistress Kendyl Scott. Maxi's own commitment-phobic musings on her love life and her tender interlude with hot-spot globetrotting reporter Richard Winningham provide a wry, real commentary on our modern lives and relationships. In addition, the behind-the-scenes double-dealing Maxi uncovers at Rose International would make the Department of Justice forget Martha Stewart and go after Gillian and Carter instead. Is Gillian's similarity to the Martha Stewart downfall coincidental? If so, Martha should watch her back.

     May the cameras keep rolling on Maxi Poole.

© MyShelf.Com. All Rights Reserved