Editor’s Pick December UK/April US: A STAR IS DEAD by Elaine Viets

This month’s Editor’s Pick is A STAR IS DEAD by Elaine Viets.

Severn House welcome Elaine Viets to our list in December with the third official title in the Angela Richman, Death Investigator mystery series. I’m excited to share with you more about what you can expect from Angela’s latest adventure.

“Ageless” Hollywood diva Jessica Gray is finishing the last leg of her one-woman show in St Louis, Missouri, and the nearby town of Chouteau Forest is dazzled. During the show she humiliates three homeless women onstage, fires her entourage – not for the first time – and makes a bitter enemy of the town’s powerful patriarch.

After she collapses at an after-show party and is rushed to the hospital, she ignores the advice of her doctors and discharges herself in order to return to LA. On the way to the airport she suffers a deadly coughing fit. It was poison. When Angela Richman’s friend, Mario, is arrested for the murder and faces the death penalty, she is compelled to investigate.

With so many grudges held against the actress and Mario’s life on the line, the stakes are higher than ever.


Have you ever met someone you and everyone else instantly take a liking to? They are charming, kind, generous, and take a genuine interest in you and those around them. Salt-of-the-earth people who’d be there to help you up when you stumble. Maybe even buy you lunch every now and then out of the goodness of their heart. Former Hollywood actress Jessica Gray is not one of those people. Quite the opposite.

Sure, she knows how to put on a show and draw you in, but behind your back she will likely be cursing your name. She berates her employees. Embarrasses a number of homeless women as part of her show. Manipulates a leading member of the Chouteau Forest community. Shows contempt to doctors and nurses, insulting all those trying to help her. On top of that, perhaps worst of all, she created a foul-tasting kale concoction to sell to the public as a youth energising drink. (Yuk!)

But does she deserve to die a horrible death? Whether deserved or not, that is what befalls her. That leaves Angela Richman, death investigator for Chouteau County, involved when her best friend is arrested for her murder.

Crime fiction is full of vile characters planning all sorts of evil – from Hannibal Lector to Amy Dunne to Moriarty – but pushing kale drinks on the public? Is there much worse? Dive into A STAR IS DEAD and see if you have ever encountered a more despicable act in crime fiction, and whether you can figure out from the plethora of suspects who had the most cause to end her life . . .

I tell you one thing, I wouldn’t be caught dead drinking one of those kale drinks!

A STAR IS DEAD is out on 31 December 2019 in the UK and in 1 April 2020 in the US – with the eBook available everywhere from 1 February 2020. Read more here.

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