Green Light for Murder is a witty, intriguing mystery. Written by screenwriter and author Heywood Gould, the book takes you behind the lens of the camera as a deranged killer, Jay Braffner, directs a movie. After a long absence from Hollywood which included stints in jail and rehab, Braffner is now untouchable and unemployable. Braffner’s movie is about the murders of producers who have stolen his ideas and profited by doing so. He orders around his admiring, though imaginary, crew as he plots to kill those who have done him wrong. Notwithstanding the fact he is a murderer, the reader will find he is quite creative in how he carries out his revenge. And if he inadvertently murders someone who is not his target? Well, collateral damage does happen.
While we’re following this director of imaginary films but real-life murders, we are introduced to Detective Tommy Veasey of the La Playita Police Department. The police chief hates him, mainly because Veasey is sleeping with his ex-girlfriend; he smokes pot, and writes bad poetry. Veasey thinks he has found a link between a series of murders, all of whom we know are Braffner’s victims. No one in the police department believes him, so he has to go outside department regulations to track down leads to solve the murders.
The author’s combination of wit and intrigue is unique and keeps the reader wondering how this will all end. From the beginning, there is no question about who the killer is and how he chooses his victims. However, add in a troubled detective, a police chief out to get him, bungled burglaries, and Hollywood has-beens who care only about keeping their hedonistic lifestyle, and knowing who the murderer is doesn’t matter a bit.
Through his characters and the story, the reader is treated to Gould’s inside knowledge of the real Hollywood in all of its backstabbing glory. More than a book about a deranged, murdering madman who is off his medication, you will also find bungled burglaries, home invasions, and plenty of interesting characters to keep your attention. Sprinkle in a look at the sleazy world of the Hollywood most of us have never experienced and you end up with a book that, while not everyone’s cup of tea, I recommend as a great summer read.
Altogether, Green Light for Murder is an interesting and witty story of Hollywood greed, selfishness, and, of course, revenge. And hey, if it makes you laugh out loud from time to time, what’s not to like?
– Reviewed by Karen Mitchell
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