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The Starlet    by Mary McNamara order for
by Mary McNamara
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I did not read author Mary McNamara's first novel, Oscar Season. I shall have to remedy that. I just finished The Starlet (her second) and I urge you to read it now!

It's fun, exciting, gritty, with interesting but not altogether sterling characters. Mercy Talbot is a popular young movie star who has won an Oscar. But she seems intent on ruining her life, if not outright killing herself, with drugs and alcohol. Her domineering mother doesn't help the situation one bit. Juliette Greyson, working in PR at a classy hotel in Hollywood, was on the same course, but has gotten sober and clean. After rehab, Juliette heads for the estate in Tuscany that she and a cousin own.

Here's where the weird stuff begins. A Hollywood company leases the estate to film a movie in which Mercy stars. Horrific things happen as we get a feel for the behind-the-scenes workings of filming. I think I made the right decision to give up a career in the movies. (Never tried, but it was still a good decision.) Too much stress. And the paparazzi!

McNamara plows the field with personalities and how differing ones interact. Makes one stop now and then to contemplate the wisdom she is imparting for the price of the book. Less expensive than lying on a shrink's couch for an hour at a time. The Starlet is a good book. Good summer reading. Heck, good reading any time of the year.

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