March 03, 2005

BOOKS: The Actor's Guide to Adultery, Rick Copp (2004)

Second in Copp's series about Jarrod Jarvis, former child star, struggling adult actor, and amateur sleuth.

As this one opens, Jarrod's not having a good day. The parole board has released the man who stalked him during his teenage heyday; his pilot for NBC didn't get picked up; and his agent/best friend has announced plans to marry a former soap actor who she's only known for two weeks.

Laurette's never had the best taste in men, and Jarrod is convinced that Juan Carlos is yet another mistake; when one of the wedding guests falls face first into the wedding cake -- murdered -- Jarrod is determined to find out what's going on and rescue Laurette from another disastrous marriage.

The trail takes him to southern Florida, where he's manages to land a supporting role in a cheap horror film that Juan Carlos is starring in. There's the usual assortment of suspects, included a disgruntled tabloid reporter and a Miami mob family; there's even a hunky private eye to serve as romantic temptation for Jarrod (whose policeman boyfriend is back home in Los Angeles).

Copp's style is light, breezy, and just a bit campy; as gay fluff goes, this is quite good (much better than most of the other books Kensington Publishing puts out). The mystery is fairly laid out, and the clues to the murderer's identity are there if you're sharp enough to spot them. (I wasn't; I almost never am.) I look forward to further volumes in the series.

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