As Dead As It Gets
Cady Kalian
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Buy *As Dead As It Gets* by Cady Kalian online

As Dead As It Gets
Cady Kalian
352 pages
June 2007
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Mysteries come in all sizes and flavors, from the comedic to grave or the cozy to the hardboiled. As Dead As It Gets definitely falls into the more comedic category. Irma Kalish, whom you might remember as a writer for the hit television shows The Facts of Life and Good Times, and Naomi Gurian team up under the name Cady Kalian to write this entertaining, laugh-out-loud mystery about an investigative journalist-turned-screenwriter living and working in Hollywood, California.

Maggie Mars has an unquenchable curiosity and a nose for finding trouble, often landing in it knee-deep. When the executive director of the Creative Artists Union does not show up for an important meeting regarding a new contract, speculations as to his absence fly. Roger Urban is known as a womanizer, but he takes his work seriously and would never willingly have missed the meeting. Maggie, a board member for the union, joins the search for her mentor and friend. She cannot help but do a little snooping in the process, trying to learn as much as she can about the man. It is a shock to everyone when Roger's body is found in a bathtub of a mansion wearing only a garter belt and a bra.

Asked to join the search committee to help find Roger's replacement, Maggie agrees despite her other weighty obligations, including working on her latest screenplay - the story of a reporter determined to investigate the alleged suicide of a friend whom she believes was murdered. What better opportunity to make some extra money on the side than to put on her investigative journalist hat again and look into the murder of her colleague, a man about whom she soon learns she knew very little. She finds herself digging for information in the cross-dressing community, possible rivals for Rogerís job, a long-lost relative, and the women he may have spurned. The more she digs, the more anxious someone else becomes, and Maggie herself becomes a possible target for the killer.

As if that were not enough, Maggie finds her heart torn in two with the re-entry of her ex-boyfriend, Joe Camanetti, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, into her life. She was quite happy with her criminal defense attorney love, Henrik Hudson, after all. Or was she? It is a love triangle to envy, if ever there was one.

Between relationship problems, a looming deadline for a screenplay she is struggling to write, the unwritten articles for her editor in New York, and trying to stay alive, Maggie has a lot to contend with. Her charm and wit may get her through some tough situations, but whether that will be enough is the leading question.

As Dead As It Gets is filled with a cast of colorful and interesting characters from the rich and wealthy to struggling artists, an eccentric father and a roommate with the latest gossip. Maggie is a sassy, independent woman who knows her mind and is not afraid to take a risk to get the answers she seeks. The authors do a great job setting up the story and carrying the reader along for the adventure. It is a fast-paced novel that will keep the reader guessing right up to the very end - and hoping the authors will bring us more of Maggie Marsí adventures.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Wendy Runyon, 2007

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