In A Is for Actress by Rebecca Cantrell and Sean Black, Sofia Salgado has left a promising career in the television and film industry to become a private investigator. She joins up with Brendan and Aiden Maloney, a father and son team of former LAPD officers. They get hired to set a “honey trap,” in which Sofia tries to seduce a reality show producer in order to get evidence of potential infidelity for a divorce filing. Then, the next day, the man’s body washes ashore Malibu Beach, making the police suspect the wife. Melissa thus turns to the Maloneys for help, and Sofia gets involved in her first murder investigation.
Sofia discovers detection is a risky job. For one thing, she runs into a sexist reality star who gropes her, earning a knee to the groin as a reward. She also meets up with a suspicious masseur. Soon after, she has someone try to run her off the road. Besides all this, very few people take her seriously as an investigator after her acting career.
This book has an interesting plot, but it gives its solution rather abruptly, and I found a few issues that were annoying. This authors seem to be eager to prove their deep knowledge of Los Angeles streets, communities, and institutions with frequent mentions of areas within the area and freeways. As a native Angelino, I recognized the accuracy of these descriptions, but they were unnecessary, and this got to seem excessive. Further, references to Angelino culture seemed stereotyped. Another thing that got a little annoying was the numerous references to contemporary pop culture and current events. Not only did this get tiresome at times, but it will serve to make this book too dated to follow in just a few years.
The audiobook is performed by Madeline Mrozek, whose good job narrating helps to redeem the negative details of the book. The book is told in the third person from Sofia’s point of view, so Mrozek seems to be speaking for Sofia, which she does well.
Despite my criticisms, A Is for Actress was an enjoyable read. The final showdown was fun though highly unrealistic and silly. I don’t expect to read any more books in this series, but I am glad I read this one. I give this 3 stars.
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