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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 09/2020
  • 978-1-7169-6043-7
  • 253 pages
  • $14.99
The Actor

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

THE ACTOR: Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense Tropes: Soul Mate/Fate/Sassy Heroine The story of a washed-up, cinema obsessed soul-singer from the 80's who falls in love with a sexually ambiguous, emotionally unstable British film star, suspected of killing his personal assistant.
Reviews
Merritt’s slow-burn romance-thriller explores the corrosive effects of celebrity, as a washed-up singer enters a complicated relationship with a world-famous actor. Felicia Lake, better known by the moniker “Babe,” is a thrice-married cinema junkie, visiting London with her best friend, cyberpunk writer Raymond T. Pickles. Pickles introduces Babe to the Actor, known for his onscreen magnetism and violent sexual proclivities. Meanwhile, the paparazzi poke into the mysterious disappearance of Philippe Noiret, the Actor’s onetime assistant and former lover. As Babe gets sucked back into the world of all-consuming fame, she begins to wonder whether her new boyfriend is responsible for Philippe’s demise—and whether she’s next.

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.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: B+
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: B

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 09/2020
  • 978-1-7169-6043-7
  • 253 pages
  • $14.99

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