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City of Mirrors
Melodie Johnson Howe

Pegasus Books
August 1, 2013 / ISBN 9781605984681
Mystery / Thriller

Reviewed by Elise Cooper

Melodie Johnson Howe’s latest serial novel, City of Mirrors, introduces the character Diana Poole. She is one of those actresses where you recognize the face but cannot place the name. The mystery is not whether Diana will find work but her discovery of a young actress’ body, Jenny Parson. This book is a compelling view of Hollywood’s dark side as Diana, along with fixer Leo Heath, must find the killer or risk death.

Diana Poole is trying to put her life together after her husband’s death, and in need of money must find work, something not easy to do for an actress over forty. She finally lands an acting job after being out of the business for a number of years. Knowing that people in this business go to dangerous lengths to protect their images Diana realizes her life is in danger since she was the one to discover the murdered actress. She elicits the help of the fixer Heath and together they search out the killer while forming a bond.

The author “Hopes that my readers will like Diana and view her as someone they could sit down and have a cup of coffee with. She is a survivor in a business that many people, especially women, don’t survive. My intention was to show what Hollywood is really like from a working actress, not a red carpet actress’, point of view. Because people in this business have giant egos I am able to create an atmosphere of mayhem.”

Through Diana’s eyes readers will discover how the Hollywood rich and famous live. Having been an actress herself Howe knows the ins and outs of the Hollywood scene and magnificently intertwines it in the mystery, making “Hollywood” a supporting character. Diana is someone witty, intelligent, likeable, and does not take herself too seriously. Yet, she is also vulnerable, especially as she struggles to understand her relationship with her famous mother, Nora, who has recently died.

Howe noted, “If you are a creative and driven person as my character Nora Poole was you find that there is a stronger need to be that red carpet actress than to be a loving mother. I think this happens a lot in Hollywood. I want to explore more, probably in the next book, how it is that Hollywood children have no sense of home. Throughout my novels I write about the mother-daughter relationship. Even though Diana was ill-treated she is attempting to respect her mother.”

The title, City of Mirrors, says it all. This novel is one reflection after another. It is a complex tale with a dark and twisting plot. The author blends humor and suspense to create a very interesting story.


Reviewed 2014