Title: Death on Daytime
Author: Tash Bell
Genre: Chick Lit/Mystery
Publisher’s Description: TV producer Tess Darling is a gorgeous, grubby blonde who skids across bars, and slides under men, to escape the shadow of her famous father, eminent broadcaster Darcus Darling.
When a presenter on her show is murdered, it’s Tess who is thrust into the spotlight however. To save the jobs of her TV crew – including her best friend and worst cameraman Miller – she’s forced to turn investigative reporter.
Probing the dark underbelly of daytime TV, Tess encounters bloated stars, bristling talent agents and vicious competition from her own father. Will Tess prove the failure he’s always held her to be? Or can she stop the killer before they strike again? As the stakes rise, inhibitions drop: Tess may have Miller by her side, but it’s hunky Detective Selleck she’s got her eye on…
My review: Grab a glass of your favorite wine and dust off your English accent, because “Death on Daytime” is one book you don’t want to miss – especially if you like humorous/chick lit mysteries.
The plot is a basic who-dunnit: Tess Darling, a hard-partying twenty-something, is the producer of a garden segment for England’s version of the Today show, and the book opens up with the taping of the latest piece.
When the segment’s host fails to show up, the crew thinks she’s flaking off; that is, until her substitute pulls her corpse out of the ground on live TV. With their careers on the line and enough suspects to fill a baseball roster (Jeenie, the host, was not very popular it turns out), this story is pretty fast-paced.
In my opinion, however, it’s the subplots that really make this book.
Tess is the daughter of a world-renowned journalist, who it turns out is a slime-ball who will do just about anything to remind his daughter of her last attempt at investigative journalism (which is revealed about 60 percent of the way through the book) and her general ne’er-do-well habits.
In addition, the police’s main suspect is a lovable loser who followed the crew around in an attempt to woo Jeenie – his idol – but it turns out he’s also hiding some skeletons in his closet. Is he really just a harmless fanboy?
This whole book was a wonderful blend of all of these elements which lead to the classic big reveal at the end. It’s a complicated case and the players are all circling. Bell does a good job of casting suspicion on each of the characters, while wrapping up all of the loose ends nicely.
The only “complaint” I have is that Bell uses a lot of British slang and brands in the story, which made me confused at points. It could grow tedious at times trying to navigate the exclamations – “fuckinell!” was a common one – and the terminology. (I learned that trash bins are called “skips.”)
But this wording also did a lot to bring the characters to life. I could hear their voices as I was reading the dialogue.
Overall: don’t let the British-isms make you skips this gem.