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    Review of MR. MURDER by Laura Van Wormer (see her website)


    Mira Books, January 2006

    Sally Harrington is ready to launch her own show--a morning network newscast. First, though, the network needs to get reluctant affiliate channels to sign up--which means both replacing their own local programming and losing a portion of the advertising dollars associated with doing their own programming. Fortunately, Sally is practically perfect. Not only does she put together the handouts and goodies for the upcoming network affiliate party, she also manages the video productions that highlight all of the DBS News segments--including her own and that of her mentor, Alexandra.

    Unfortunately, DBS has some deeper issues. One of these is the loss of the long-time star of their news magazine. Sally had been tapped as a replacement, but prefered to do her own show and now the ratings are plunging. Could News actuallyl lose this segment to Sports? Sally will need to use all of her people skills to come up with a creative solution to this challenge.

    At the same time, someone is killing or near-killing anyone who's offended Sally. Fortunately, the police rally around her so she isn't a suspect. Still, it is unpleasant--as are the mysterious white roses that show up every time one of her old enemies is done in. Then there's Sally's love-life crisis. Her younger cop-boyfriend is crazy about her, but she just can't see a future with him. The lawyer she's really crazy about is married to someone else, which causes problems for Sally.

    Author Laura Van Wormer (see more reviews of novels by Van Wormer) does an incredible job making the all-too-perfect Sally Harrington sympathetic. All of the network details are vividly described and it's fascinating to see Sally work her way through both the political and the news crises that crop up as she continues to do her job. Unfortunately, the mystery and thriller part of the story are not given the same detailed attention. Instead, they feel as if Van Wormer got caught up in the soap-opera life of her protagonist and suddenly remembered that she was writing a mystery.

    Despite the sketchy nature of the mystery and the annoying fact of Sally's over-perfection, MR. MURDER is enjoyable to read. With those story flaws, the quality of the writing really came to the rescue.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 3/02/06

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