Monday, June 8, 2015

Helena Goes to Hollywood by CC Dragon Review Tour

Helena Goes to Hollywood
CC Dragon
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Helena Morris Mystery Book 1 

Martial arts instructor Helena Morris has a few weaknesses. One is her FBI agent ex-husband who she avoids. The other is her superstar sister Sonia who is divorcing a soap star hunk of a husband. When Sonia needs protection from a stalker, Helena finds herself playing bodyguard and investigator. Glitz and glamour aren't her style but she must gain full entry into her sister’s world to keep her safe! 

It’s hard to know who to trust when half the suspects are professional actors with out of control egos. A murder too close for comfort stuns everyone and Hel knows her sister is probably next. Working the case with a little help from her still interested ex, a hunky LAPD detective, and other helpful friends, she has to track down rabid fans and clear jealous co-stars to get at the killer. With so many suspects, she’ll have to outsmart them all while not pissing off the LAPD to get a step ahead of the killer. 
Hollywood called to people in search of fame and fortune. My sister had both. As far as I was concerned, she could keep it. Now she’d attracted trouble. That I couldn’t ignore. I just hoped it turned out to be nothing but hollow threats.
I steered my car off the freeway after four hours of driving too fast in my Mustang convertible. It was a treat I’d bought right after my divorce when I moved to Vegas. I had no buyer’s remorse for any of those decisions, especially the divorce.
As I pulled into Sonia’s driveway I had to admit that the mansions didn’t impress me anymore. Here normal rules did not apply. I grabbed my hastily packed suitcase and retrieved the one essential item. With an FBI agent for an ex-husband, I’d learned to use a gun for protection. I preferred hand-to-hand but since I had no clue what type of stalker my sister had, I slid the Glock into the holster at the small of my back.
Also thanks to the ex, I’d lived in a lot of places so I’d learned to adapt without all the stress. However, this was the one place I didn’t belong. Most stars had egos bigger than a Kardashian ass. Sonia was no exception. I climbed the stairs to my sister’s Brentwood mansion and rang the doorbell.
No one else would put up with her or protect her like I would. That’s family. Until I knew the details, I’d take no chances but if this was a stunt I’d be in Vegas for my evening class. Sonia was ten years younger and while we’d had a normal Midwestern upbringing, she’d gone Hollywood in a big bad ugly way. Sometimes she needed attention and I wasn’t really the type to provide it for less than legitimate reasons.
The door opened and a tall muscular black man I didn’t recognize stood there wearing a peach shirt and tight white jeans. He stared me down critically and I returned the stare with equal distrust.
I fought the impulse to grab my gun.
I expected one of the rotating Latina housekeepers Sonia employed, not this. I quickly assessed him from the peach nail polish to the lip gloss. Tall and broad shouldered, he had muscle but the man’s posture signaled he wasn’t looking for a fight.
“You must be Sonia’s sister. Drab is right. She said you had no more fashion sense than to hide your gun. I have the same problem but mine is bigger.” He propped a fist on his hip. “We’re having a little pity party. Room for one more.”
“I’m Helena Morris. How is she doing?” I extended a hand in greeting, completely ignoring his less than stellar judgment on sense of style. This man was not much protection for Sonia but at least she wasn’t totally alone.
Instead of shaking my hand the tall dark mystery man pulled me into a bear hug. “A mess. About time you got here.”
“I got on the road as soon as I got her text. She needs to be less blasé about these things.” I eased back. Yeah, I wasn’t really the hugging strangers type. “Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
“Jordan, the wardrobe master of the fabulous new show Fed Files.” He gave a dramatic bow. “Come in.”
Oh boy…this was going to be a blast.
Rolling my suitcase along, I walked into the mega mansion. Sonia’s new TV show had taken over her world but it was the soap that had paid for her rise to a decent status by Hollywood estimations. Sonia worked hard at her acting career but she had tunnel vision. Her status and work ruled her life.
And—whoa—she looked like hell.
The normally perky blue-eyed blonde looked hollow. Sonia lay limp on the white sofa hugging her loyal toy poodle Fluffy in a death grip. Not that I was anything to fawn over but Sonia always looked photo shoot ready. Now I was worried.
I leaned to Jordan. “Is that really her? I haven’t seen her without makeup since she was twelve.”
He nodded. “She cleans up good for the cameras but she’s lucky to get work at her age. Thirty in Hollywood can be iffy.”
“I’m forty. Do I get the senior discount?”
Humor was how I coped with Tinseltown up close. The last eight years living in Vegas had been convenient. It was drivable so I could do short trips and avoid an overdose of crazy.
Jordan shook his bald head. “No discounts unless you’re willing to have it taped for a reality show. But you might want to sign up for fashion rehab first.”
“Sure, that’s my goal in life.” My jeans and T-shirt were already offending the Hollywood crowd. I almost let a smile slip but I focused on the reason for my trip.
“Hi, Sonia,” I said softly, in that voice you use on animals and small children.
She looked up as if surprised.
“Hel,” she cried and clambered off the couch to pull me into a tight hug.
"It’s okay," I replied, still in that same soothing voice and eased her back to the massive couch. Her faithful dog licked her face in agreement with me.
"What are you doing here?” Sonia took a deep breath and smiled big.
Just like my sister to recover in seconds.
"You texted me that you have a stalker. Your personal life is all over E! And then you didn’t answer your phone when I called from the road. You think I’m going to do nothing? Be glad I didn't send the police." I walked around the living room; nothing seemed out of place. No sign of intruders. Two empty vodka bottles on the wet bar. "What happened?"
“Nothing really. I’d been drinking when I texted you." She cuddled her crazy dog.

“Cut the crap, Sonia,” I said.

I don't read many (cozy) mystery books, but I did enjoy this one. I did have a few issues with the characters though. The writing and story line were good.
*I did not like how the main character, Helena, acted like she was part of the police force or FBI just because her ex was in the FBI. She was a karate instructor, but acted so much tougher. I get that she didn't care about her image or what others thought of her, but I thought she took that too far. And how was it that the some of the police just went along with her and her I think I am part of the police thing? that was way off for me.
*Sonia, boy was she something!!!! She could barely function, does not face reality very well. I am not her fan.
*Jordan, LOVE him! Best supporting character ever! 
As for the suspects, well I had the same feeling as Helena and Jordan on some of them. Some of those suspects were just creepy. Yet, unlike other mysteries I've read, you most likely won't have the true person picked out. I thought someone else was the culprit and I was WAY off on that one. 

Great story line, good writing, just not some good characters or characteristics. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. 4 stars