At thirty-nine, Tallie Jones is a Hollywood legend. Her work as a film director is her passion and the center of her life; one after another, her award-winning productions achieve the rare combination of critical and commercial success. With no interest in the perks of her profession or the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, Tallie maintains close and loving relationships with her college-age daughter and her aging father, and has a happy collaboration with Hunter Lloyd, her respected producing partner, confidant, and live-in lover. Rounding out the circle and making it all work is Brigitte Parker, Tallie’s devoted personal assistant. Friends since film school, they are a study in contrasts, with Brigitte’s polished glamour balancing Tallie’s artless natural beauty, and her hard-driving, highly organized style a protective shield for Tallie’s casual, down-to-earth approach.
As Tallie is in the midst of directing the most ambitious film she has yet undertaken, small disturbances begin to ripple through her well-ordered world. An outside audit reveals troubling discrepancies in the financial records maintained by Victor Carson, Tallie’s longtime, trusted accountant. Mysterious receipts hint at activities of which she has no knowledge. Soon it becomes clear that someone close to Tallie has been steadily funneling away enormous amounts of her money. In the wake of an escalating series of shattering revelations, Tallie will find herself playing the most dangerous game of all–to trap a predator stalking her in plain sight.
Photo of my personal copy
Sometimes, I’m really in the mood for a romance where you don’t have to think at all. So I thought this would be the perfect book to pick up! It probably wasn’t the best choice…
Yes, I wanted to not think. But there’s knowing what’s going to happen, then there’s so predictable you want to punch everyone who can’t see the ending. This fell into the second category. Our main character, Tallie, was the one who needed to be punched. She was too trusting, and too lazy. Tallie is a fantastic director, and for some reason that means her entire life revolves around movies. I mean, to the point where she doesn’t shop for presents for her own daughter because her assistant does it for her. Then, someone steals a bunch of money from her. Gee, I wonder who that could be? It never occured to this idiot that never checking her own accounts might be a mistake. I worked it out in the first few chapters, and the FBI that got involved knew straight away too. Literally everyone with a brain knew, except Tallie. I think Steel was trying to make the thief seem mysterious, and that was why Tallie didn’t know a thing. Unfortunately, that didn’t work one bit.
The other thing I didn’t like about this book was the way it was set out. There were very distinct sections of the book, without it being split into actual sections. The first part was the introduction to our characters. Nothing happened in this part except for a rundown of Tallie, Brigitte and Hunt’s lives up until the beginning of the book. I get that it’s good to know our characters, and know what their lives were like. But it could have been done a lot more subtley, or at least woven into the story more. The second part (the biggest chunk) was Tallie’s life falling to pieces. This included the “mystery” of the embellzement, a death, and a ruined marriage. We were also introduced to the single, attractive FBI agent. Hmm, I wonder where this is going? The final part was her happily ever after. This part involved the agent (surprise, surprise), and also a weird death. But it was definitely my favourite part. After everything Tallie had gone through, she deserved that happy ending. Yes, it wrapped up a little too conviniently. But in this sort of book, that’s okay! It was just the other two parts that let it down for me.
But wait, there’s one more thing I didn’t like! Steel tried to hard with her writing. She was really anxious to get all the important info accross, and it showed in her writing. This included quotes such as:
She was the opposite of Tallie in every way. Everything about her had been carefully thought out to catch the eye, as opposed to Tallie, who preferred to think of herself as invisible. Her whole business was to show off others, not herself. Brigitte Parker loved the attention she got and had none of Tallie’s subtlety and shyness. The two woman had similar looks… but did entirely differet thing with the attributes nature had given them. Tallie hid them, and Brigitte shone a spotlight on them. Tallie honestly didn’t care how she looked and never thought about it. Brigitte put a lot of thought and effort into her appearance.
Yes, that was one paragraph. It easily could have been cut down into just a couple of lines. And then, a few chapters later, we get reminded of the same thing again. And again. And again. I think Steel just isn’t confident enough in her writing. You have to trust that people will remember what your character looks like, instead of trying to drill it into your reader’s brains.
I’m mad, because this book had a lot of potential. The romance could have been cute, the theif could have been a shock, the deaths could have made me cry. But the writing just couldn’t pull it off, and that upsets me. Maybe her other books will be written better? I just don’t know if I’m brave enough to try
Have any of you read this book? Or anything else by Danielle Steel? Let me know what you thought!