Title: Reality Bites
Series: Hollywood Detective Mysteries: Book One
Author: S.C. Wynne
Length: 141 Pages
Category: Murder Mystery
At a Glance: Fans of murder mystery and romantic suspense will find plenty to love in SC Wynne’s Reality Bites, a short novel that’s long on suspects and delivers no few surprises along the way.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: When a contestant is mauled to death by a tiger on the set of a reality TV show, Detective Cabot Decker isn’t sure why he gets the call. He hunts murderers for a living. He doesn’t babysit uptight Hollywood producers because their pet cat misbehaves.
Jax Thornburn is a rising star in Hollywood, but something sinister is happening on the set of his hit reality show. Reality TV always has the potential to go off the rails, but people are dying, and Jax is positive someone is trying to kill him too.
Despite Decker’s initial feeling Jax is overreacting, after several attempts on the hotshot producer’s life, even Decker has to admit someone seems to want Jax dead.
Review: Murder is murder is murder. Unless it’s a Hollywood murder. A contestant being mauled to death by a tiger on a reality TV show is not a par for the course case, even by Hollywood standards. Detective Cabot Decker is leaning into the belief that it’s a case of a misguided stunt gone terribly wrong, upon initial assessment of the scene, but it’s not long before he becomes convinced that even an ounce of suspicion may be worth a pound of investigation. The show’s producer, Jax Thornburn, has quite a bit to do with that.
S.C. Wynne incorporates an unlikely relationship between Decker and Jax with Decker’s growing desire to protect Jax when it becomes obvious that someone is out to put an end to him—not just to his career but to his life. No clear motives but plenty of potential persons of reasonable suspicion complicate the case, as does Decker’s attraction to a man he knows he should not be attracted to, let alone allow himself to give in to that attraction. A detective and a wealthy Hollywood produce couldn’t possibly find enough common ground to make a relationship work, long or short term. They’re beer and champagne. Add to that Decker’s deep-seated belief that Jax should fit the mold inherent to his career and associations—shallow, self-absorbed, and superficial—and it spells a little tension on the romantic front added to the murder investigation. Because Jax is not any of those things, and he’s becoming impossible for Decker to resist.
Reality Bites is book one in a new series, and I have a feeling I’m going to like the setting as much as the characters and investigations. The Hollywood microcosm offers up plenty of potential—everyone’s an actor or aspiring actor, so questioning suspects means relying on instinct and intuition, because impersonating an innocent person is just that little bit easier. While the case of who killed Dale Larson and who wants Jax Thornburn dead is resolved to the complete satisfaction of this mystery lover, where Jax and Decker stand is only just beginning. I’m looking as forward to seeing where Wynne takes them as I am to Decker’s next case.
Fans of murder mystery and romantic suspense will find plenty to love in Reality Bites, a short novel that’s long on suspects and delivers no few surprises along the way.
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