Murder Among the Stars by Laura L. Sullivan and Adam Shankman, June 13, 2017. 320 pages. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Source: Publisher for Blog Tour.
After being framed for attempted murder, Lulu Kelly has earned a rest. Unfortunately, there is no rest in Hollywood for a rising starlet. Lulu and her boyfriend Freddie are invited to posh Hearst Castle, where Lulu will be competing against other young actresses for the role of a lifetime. But what’s a house party without a little murder?
After a rival actress is found dead under the dining room table, Lulu makes it her mission to solve the mystery. But illusion is this town’s number one export, and it’s hard to tell the ambitious from the truly evil. As the clues pile up, Lulu and Freddie race to find the killer, even as Lulu becomes the next target.
Hollywood starlet Lulu Kelly gazed through the brilliant California sunshine at the castle that rose like an enchanted dream from the mountainside.
Even though I enjoyed Murder Among the Stars, there were a few things that kept me from fully connecting with the characters and their plight. It was still an amusing read though.
- Let's talk about the good points first. I found Lulu to be an interesting character, even if she has some, well, slightly annoying qualities, as her sense of justice set her a little apart from the other girls aiming for the "role of a lifetime". Yet, as much as I liked her sense of justice and doing the right thing, she would have made a better private eye than an actress; the book would have been much improved if that were the case, too. I think that change would have given the book a fresher dynamic than what it had.
- I have mixed feelings about the setting, to be honest. My biggest complaint on the setting would be that it felt like they just did not commit enough to it being in the 'golden age' of Hollywood. I would have loved to see them actually embrace that setting more than they did. With the vagueness of the time period, it just felt like it was missing that punch that would have made it impossible to walk away from whilst reading. As a reader, the story setting is very important to me.
- As for Lulu and Freddie, I liked them somewhat. Having not read the first book, I felt a disconnect with them as a couple; I did not like his subtle, yet not subtle, possessiveness of Lulu when he felt that another guy was interested in her. Sure, he knew he was acting stupid, but that doesn't really excuse his behavior. I could see them more as a private eye best friends kind of duo...more than as a romantic item. Though I did enjoy how he would turn to her for her thoughts and perspective on the case (though we all know she could not restrain herself from getting involved anyway).
- In regards to the mystery- I had both of them solved during the character introductions. It will take more than a couple red herrings to throw me for a loop. When it came to the culprit, the authors actually excelled there better than they did with the main characters. The culprit and their reasoning for doing what they did were the most evenly rounded aspect of the book. I cannot say more on that, but the end game was definitely interesting, to say the least.
- Even though it had both good and not so good elements, it was still a pretty enjoyable read. Not quite what I was expecting though.
Final Verdict: Murder Among the Stars- Has a fairly decent double mystery with ample red herrings to keep you on your toes. A little slower paced, with some rough patches, then I was expecting but a fascinating look into the dark depths of the Hollywood life of a rising star with a knack for attracting trouble.
Murder Among the Stars earns
A copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.