Thursday, December 01, 2016

Murder He Wrote by Joe Cosentino

I’ve watched every episode of Murder She Wrote, The Hardy Boys, The Nancy Drew Mysteries, Miami Vice, Hart to Hart, Moonlighting, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. There’s nothing more fun than being faced with a murder, a group of suspects, a puzzle, and a time limit to guess whodunit and why. It sharpens the little gray cells and makes me feel warm and cozy. Add in exotic locations, romance, humor, and snappy dialogue and I’m in heaven.

So the next Jana Lane mystery, RAG DOLL, takes place in 1985 with Miami Vice and Murder She Wrote being all the rage on television. Jana stars in a new television mystery series, The Detective’s Wife, opposite Chris Bove, the hunky detective who got away in Satin Doll. Guest starring on the show is young ingénue Christa Bianca, a rags to riches story who has flooded the press. Life imitates television as Christa’s loved ones are murdered, and Christa and Jana could be next. Once again it’s up to Jana to use her knowledge from her days as America’s most famous child star and save the day before the lights fade to black.

Jana’s amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, and loyal agent, Simon Huckby, is back. The other suspects include Jason, the young prop man with a secret; bit players Karen and makeup girl Cindi who have their eyes on Christa’s guest starring role; two couples in supporting roles who have a conflict with Christa and Christa’s husband/manager, the domineering Andrew Bianca; Christa’s calculating agent Stu, and her Uncle Nick, trying to stay in show business on Christa’s coattails.
Christa is a beautiful, talented young woman who escaped her impoverished small town life and embarked on a successful film and television career. As one reviewer wrote, I used my knowledge of show business to devilish ends. Actually, I used my background in each of the Jana Lane novels, since I know the ins and outs on a movie set, television set, and theatre stage. Thankfully nobody was murdered on my shows. I’ve been told the television shooting sequences in RAG DOLL are realistic, exciting, and fun to read. I’m sure that’s because I know my way around a real television set, and I tried hard to incorporate that knowledge into those scenes.

Though Jana and Brian are happily married, you can’t blame Jana for being attracted to handsome, muscular, smart, food-addict Bove, starring opposite her in The Detective’s Wife. After what they’ve gone through together in Satin Doll, they can be totally honest with one another. Their banter is very funny but also warm and precious. Since Jana is not available, their attraction for each other needs to stay at bay, which is quite difficult for both of them at times. I think they put that frustrated energy into solving the case.

Once again as an actor in film, television, and theatre, working opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards; I used my knowledge and experiences to write RAG DOLL. Again as an avid mystery buff myself, RAG DOLL is a page-turning mystery with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, and lots of clues leading to a surprising conclusion. Since coming from a funny Italian-American family, humor also plays role in the novel.

So settle back on the sofa, get the remote and popcorn, and turn on the television for the next Jana Lane mystery! BTW, I want to play Simon Huckby in the TV series!

 RAG DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery, published by The Wild Rose Press
by Joe Cosentino

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