Merritt delves into Babe, the Actor, their relationship, and their drug and alcohol abuse. The misfit cast of characters, shoved into the unrelenting spotlight, are unique, raw, and emotionally unstable. There is no shortage of plotlines, side mysteries, and surprise reveals, some of which are dropped, inadequately explored, or awkwardly paced. The first chapter is unconnected to the rest of the action: Babe is fired from a teaching position, visits her brother, and struggles with money, three plot points that are never mentioned again. But the introduction of the Actor establishes a focus and a more consistent tone.
In Babe, Merritt has created a well-developed and compelling main character with a killer voice—funny, sarcastic, quick-witted, and narcissistic. Readers who prefer their thrillers with character depth will enjoy this one, and cinema fans will appreciate references to the films of the ’40s and ’50s; Babe parallels her life with those of classic Hollywood stars, and each chapter begins with a relevant quote from a member of Hollywood’s old guard. Toeing the line between romance and suspense, Merritt successfully probes the darker, violent sides of fame and love.
Takeaway: A missing-persons thriller for movie lovers, this story of Hollywood weirdos living in London is perfect for those curious about the detrimental effects of fame and fortune.
Great for fans of: Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan’s Girl About Town, Stuart Woods’ The Prince of Beverly Hills.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: B