"...Partly the glitz and glamour of Jackie Collins novels and partly the LA streets of hard-boiled James Ellroy..."
Let's start from the top. I don't entirely agree with this title's book summary. Yes, to the first. No, to the second. That said, this is a terrific novel with an extremely likeable cast of characters. Everyone in this book felt right; they all seemed very "real."
The good characters were normal, everyday people you could relate to - even Victoria - Nikki's mother. Don't get me wrong. Victoria is amazing and manages to steal every scene she's in. The polar opposite of Norma Desmond from "Sunset Boulevard," Victoria Bordeaux is what Hollywood nobility should be, and what I want to believe once was. Because she's lived the life of a glamorous film goddess, her character and lavish circumstances may seem over-the-top for the average person at first, but it soon becomes apparent that she is completely realistic and charming. She's a classy lady through-and-through. Her relationship with her daughter is enjoyable and often a hoot. She loves her daughter and it shows. The reverse is also true.
The not-so-good characters were human, living their lives in the gray area rather than being completely wicked.
Refreshingly, there was no barely clad, kick-butt, sarcastic hellcat with a potty-mouth. Despite having grown up around Hollywood Royalty, Nikki Harper is a very down-to-earth character and an adult. She is a strong, independent woman who actually likes herself and is comfortable living in her own skin. She can mingle and live amongst the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, but she isn't blinded by it.
Nikki follows clues and uses her "daughter of" status to help solve the mystery that - again - is very real. While there is a love interest, there is no insanely hunky deus ex machina there to save the day or exchange eye-rolling flirtatious banter with.
The story is a breath of fresh air. There was hardly any profanity, though I didn't feel like I was smashed over the head with "the power of cute" either.
Loved the addition of Stan and Ollie, Nikki's two King Charles Spaniels, too. I wanted to scratch them behind the ear and toss 'em treats.
The narrator was superb.
Can't wait for the next novel. I definitely want to revisit these characters again and truly hope this becomes a successful series.
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