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In the first of a mystery series set amid the bright lights big egos and Botoxed brows of Hollywood Cheryl Crane daughter of legendary movie star Lana Turner introduces a smart hilarious and utterly loveable heroine in realtor turned amateur sleuth Nikki Harper


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    First Sentence Nikki Harper snagged a Norwegian salmon canapé from a silver tray as a server passed her Nikki Harper is the daughter of a Hollywood legend Victoria Bordeaux inherited enough money from her late father that she need never work and yet supports herself selling real estate in Hollywood with her friend Jessica Martin One of their recent sales was the house of Edith March Originally they worked for Edith’s husband Rex until he died in a small plane crash eight months ago his body never recovered Or at least Rex was thought to have died Now Rex who clearly had not died in a plane crash has turned up clearly murdered naked for gold lamé bikini briefs in Jessica’s bed and she is the prime suspect in his murder Nikki who knows her friend is innocent but is afraid the police won’t look further than Jessica is determined to provide her friend is innocent New authors are always advised to “write what you know” and Ms Crane followed that adage to good end Author Cheryl Crane does sell real estate in Palm Springs She is also the daughter of real Hollywood actress and legend Lana Turner whose second husband was stabbed to death and for which Cheryl pled guilty The case was ruled as justifiable homicide as Crane was protecting her mother from a man who was known to be violent and abusive However rather than this being a dark and bitter book it is absolutely delightful There are three critical elements for which I look when I read characters dialogue and plot Ms Crane scored very high marks on all the points In contrast to the setting of the rich and famous Nikki is a delightful protagonist In spite of her collection of high end watches she drives a Prius doesn’t generally wear designer shoes or clothes and is self supporting Although due to her upbringing she is connected to the Hollywood glitterati she’s seen behind the screen and isn’t impressed This is refreshing for although the book is filled with famous names and labels you realize these are simply part of the character’s life than being there to impress Nikki’s mother Victoria is an absolute gem She is Hollywood nobility but with good sense and an understanding of the importance of treating everyone with respect The relationship between them is a realistic combination of love affection frustration and exasperation Crane has an excellent ear for dialogue It’s natural crisp often funny and occasionally touching The only weakness was in trying to capture the sound of a deep Southern accent in print It slowed down the pace of reading and just didn’t really work The plot was so well done Crane uses Nikki’s background similar to Crane’s own to explain her distrust of the police and why she felt compelled to investigate the murder She followed the clues worked with others and never came up as TSTL too stupid to live She did a wonderful job creating plot twists and red herrings without their ever feeling contrived or awkward Even if you think you know the killer you’re not at all certain until the very end The story is refreshing in that there is almost no profanity but neither is it so sweet it makes your teeth hurt The language is occasionally euphemistic rather than profane and the story is without either graphic sex or violence It will be interesting to see Ms Crane develop as a writer and Nikki develop as a character “THE BAD ALWAYS DIE TWICE” is a very good book multiple generations of readers could enjoy and should so doTHE BAD ALWAYS DIE TWICE Ama Sleuth Nikki Harper Los Angeles Cont VG Crane Cheryl – 1st in series New York Kensington Books ©2011