“Everything seems so damn normal, so beautiful, And it isn’t.”
These words set the scene for Melodie Johnson Howe’s latest thriller City of Mirrors. With her mother and husband recently deceased, Diana Poole is isolated even further by her lethal sleuthing antics, attraction to dangerous men, and perhaps most of all, her enigmatic status: a middle-aged actress in Hollywood. Based on the Santa Barbara resident’s short story collection, Shooting Hollywood, Howe’s newest novel further evolves the story of its favorite actress and inadvertent detective.
Howe, a former actress herself, explains that during her days in the spotlight, “I was a sexual object, but I had a mind like a steel trap. However, beauty haunts you. Youth haunts you. In order to move on you have to let go of these things.” Through Diana, Howe finally has the opportunity to retaliate against the long held stereotype of the susceptible blonde. “I admire Diana’s singular personality, her strength,” said Howe in a recent interview. “She isn’t dependent on anyone.”
Due out in August, City of Mirrors guides the reader through Diana’s latest crime solving escapade with quick, suspenseful chapters that leave the reader with a glimpse into the Hollywood you won’t find cruising Sunset. Diana knows that, in this town, everyone has something to hide, but will her new discoveries leave her to face the harsh lights of reality all alone?
The Native Americans used to call L.A. the city of smoke, but as Diana’s mother once told her, “If you want a friend in Hollywood, get a mirror.”