It’s a classic set-up: aspiring actress Ashley Brooks thinks she’s hit her big break when her dog wanders into the home of legendary casting director Louisa Lake George. Louisa offers to introduce Ashley to important folks in the industry, and even offers Ashley the opportunity to do some audition tapes for an upcoming role! Except that a day later, Louisa turns up dead, and to the surprise of her beloved nephew Nathan and her estranged children Charlie and Winnie, she leaves the bulk of her fortune to Ashley.
Each of the parties involved responds to the situation in different ways, and the result is a tight, twisty, and just plain entertaining thriller. Walter does a good job in parcelling out little bits of information about each person’s life and motivations, and the particularities of their relationship with Louisa. Louisa herself is a fascinating character, and the motivations behind her will are TV mini-series gold.
While part of me liked seeing various events from multiple perspectives, there were also moments when the device felt a bit repetitive. I felt this especially with the relationship and quasi-romance between Ashley and her roommate Jordan. While this plot thread eventually pays off and Jordan turns out to have an important role to play, it just bogged the story down in the beginning, when the machinations of Louisa and her family were much more interesting.
A big reveal near the end about what actually happens to Louisa also rubbed me the wrong way. It made sense within the narrative, and the author does a good job in explaining the motivations behind the person who made it happen. But for all Louisa did, I think the person went too far, and their motivation was just plain petty. I wish there had been more of a comeuppance for them, so the ending still left me somewhat dissatisfied.
That being said, overall, this was a fun read. Very much a popcorn kind of book, wonderful for a weekend or after-work treat!
Thank you to Thomas Allen Ltd for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.