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by Kelly Lange
Mysterious Press, 2002
Review by Su Terry on Jul 6th 2002

The Reporter

            Take a heaping portion of Entertainment Tonight, add a pinch of personal interest from People Magazine, liberally spice it with plenty of Hollywood gossip, stir in lots of humor and heat over a fire of passion and murder, and you will have The Reporter by Kelly Lange. The Reporter is a deliciously scandalous novel about wives, ex-wives, mistresses, and murder amongst the Hollywood elite.

The Reporter by Kelly Lange is set amid the glittering lights and sparkling swimming pools of Hollywood Hills. As the novel opens, Jack Nathanson is dead. While he has died many times on screen, now he was truly and really dead. He is laid out in a see-through coffin in all his regal Armani splendor. At this his celebrity “see and be seen” funeral, however, few are real mournful. His first wife, Debra Angelo, will not miss him or their constant battles over his child-rearing practices of their beloved daughter, Gia. His second wife, Maxi Poole, will not miss him since he dumped her in a rush for the much younger wife number three. In fact, wife number three, his current wife of less than a year, Janet Orson, also seems to have reasons of her own not to miss his roving eyes and wandering hands. Tarya and Irving Zimmerman, his neighbors, will not miss him. (He was sleeping with Tarya and stiffing Irving on land access rights.) Nor would he be missed particularly much by Sam Bloom, his long-suffering business manager, nor by Julian Polo, his over-worked PR agent. In fact, only his loyal housekeeper, Carlotta Rico, seems to be shedding a few genuine tears. So who plugged Jack full of holes in his daughter’s bedroom in his first ex-wife’s beach cottage? When the police haul Debra (wife number one) out of the funeral pleading her innocence and begging Maxi to look after Gia, Maxi takes it upon herself to find out who really terminated Jack’s earthly acting career.

The Reporter is filled with interesting characters. Jack Nathanson is scandalously portrayed as the horrid actor with an overactive casting coach. Debra is purrrfectly painted as the now overly plush former sex kitten of the silver screen. There are the crazy doings of the dynamic duo of Meg Davis, a drugged up former child star, and Zahna Cole, Jack’s mistress, speed queen, and late night radio siren. In fact, in this cast abundantly filled with odd crazies, the character of Maxi Poole, the book’s heroine, is almost ho-hum. One reviewer claimed that the greatest fun of this novel is trying to guess who the author had in mind when she named and described her characters. (Now who might Jack Nathanson be?) For me the greatest joy was reading the parody of the mores and scandals of the rich and infamous of Hollywood. Either way, while the book is a serious mystery with graphic violence, one cannot but read it without at least snickering through parts of it. (I will fess up to a real belly laugh or two!)

Kelly Lange is a television journalist and co-hosts of a popular daily news / talk show on CBS show, Women 2 Women. She also hosts her own three-hour radio show on Sunday nights on KRLA/1110AM. For 28 years, she was the former anchor and news reporter for KNBC-TV. She began her career as "Dawn O'Day," aka the "Ladybird" of airborne traffic reporter on KABC/790 AM. Ms. Lange has received numerous honors and awards, including an Emmy for Best Los Angeles News Anchorperson. Lange has published two previous novels, Trophy Wife (1995) and Gossip (1998). Kelly Lange currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

The Reporter is a deadly serious yet humorous mystery that pokes fun at the stars, their lifestyle and mores, and their entourage and groupies. While the graphic violence and descriptions of kinky sexual practices may not be every one’s cup of tea, most readers will find the bulk of this mystery to be quite satirical. Move over Jackie Collins, Kelly Lange is elbowing her way in! I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and highly recommended it.

 

© 2002 Su Terry

Su Terry: Education: B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at Dowling College, Long Island, NY. Interests in Mental Health: She is interested in the interplay between psychology, biology, and mysticism. Her current area of research is in the impact of hormonal fluctuation in female Christian mystics.