Actress Mercy Talbot has been in the public eye since she was eleven. Now twenty-three, she was climbing a fountain in the middle of a plaza in Florence, Italy. Her co-star and lover died of what was considered an on set accident, and Mercy feels she might also become a target. As the paparazzi and other gawkers call for her to jump, a familiar voice breaks through the roar from the crowd causing her to hesitate - but just for a moment. Following the dive, she is rescued by Juliette Greyson, the public relations director for a posh L.A. hotel, who is currently in Italy for a much needed vacation.
Juliette takes Mercy to a quiet Tuscan villa her and her cousin co-own so that Mercy can have some privacy and hopefully a time of healing. In the middle of filming a movie, the troubled starlet decides she likes the peace and quiet of the area and chooses not to return to the movie set. The next thing Juliette knows Mercy's shrew of a mother Angie shows up. Then, so does the whole production team as they try to finish filming on location. When someone else connected with the film dies, Mercy’s fears that she is next almost send her over the edge.
Mary McNamara’s The Starlet is an insider's look at the excesses of Hollywood, Juliette's attempts at separating herself from those excesses, and what can happen to a young star that becomes everyone's hot property. This tangled mystery covers much emotional ground for all those who are involved in Mercy's life and struggles.
As the television critic for the Los Angeles Times, it is obvious that the author has experience in the world of actors and actresses, their behavior, and how they are used by the powers that be. McNamara makes it is somewhat easy to feel sympathy for Mercy in spite of her behavior, especially after meeting her mother and others who are making good money from Mercy’s success.
Although I have not read Mary McNamara's first novel, Oscar Season, I would definitely go back and catch up on what looks to be an intriguing series. Those who are interested in the entertainment field or just want to read a captivating mystery story will want to check out The Starlet.
A special thank you goes to Simon and Schuster for providing a complimentary copy of The Starlet for review. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, it is available at Amazon.com.