Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"City of Mirrors"

Melodie Johnson Howe is the author of three novels, The Mother Shadow, nominated for an Edgar award, Beauty Dies, and City of Mirrors. She’s also written a collection of short fiction, Shooting Hollywood: The Diana Poole Stories and a play, The Lady of the House. After a career in movies and television, she quit acting to write novels. She lives in Santa Barbara with her husband.

Howe applied the Page 69 Test to City of Mirrors and reported the following:
Page 69, In City of Mirrors, comes at a turning point in the novel when actress Diana Poole realizes that finding the body of the murdered young star, Jenny Parson, has put her in danger. A limo driver picks up Diana to take her away from the paparazzi converging on her house. He is to drive her to Zaitlin’s, the producer of the movie she currently acting in. But once inside the car she beings to understand that two men in the front seat have a different destination in mind:
So they weren't going to give me my purse and they weren't going to let me operate the window. I pressed my lips together as I fought back the fear that was crawling through me. When I stumbled, had my bag really slipped from my shoulder, or had the driver purposely taken it? There was nothing in it except my lipstick, hairbrush, wallet, and cell phone. My cell. My contact to the outside world.
As the driver swerves left onto Malibu Canyon Road and they begin the long climb up the twisting canyon Diana desperately tires to convince them to let her go:
"… If anything happens to me, the photographers and TV people saw this car. Saw me get into it." I stared into the rearview mirror and met the driver's dull penny-shaped eyes. "Gerald, your name is Gerald, right? They saw you. They have you on tape."

"Will you tell her to shut up!” he snapped at Heath. "She's giving me a headache."

Heath glanced over his shoulder at me. “Nothing's going to happen to you. Trust me."

"Trust you? A man who likes to batter women?"

The driver's eyes slid sideways, regarding him curiously. "What's she talking about?"
Heath hits a button and a window goes up, separating her from her captors. Diana sinks back in the seat trying to take in the full impact of being kidnapped. Of Heath who likes to hurt women. Is that why he’s here? The only thing she knows for sure is that she is not in control of her own life anymore, if she ever was.
My permanent chill was back. I slipped on my leather jacket, but it has lost its edge.
It is this frightening experience that moves Diana to take her life back and find out who killed Jenny Parson. But like most things in Diana’s world nothing is what it seems to be.
Learn more about the book and author at Melodie Johnson Howe's website.

--Marshal Zeringue