Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ROOM FOR DOUBT (Carol Childs Mystery #4)
Nancy Cole Silverman
Henery Press
July 18, 2017

Carol Childs is a 40ish single mom with a daughter in college and a 16-year-old son still at home. She is also a radio reporter who doesn't appreciate being called away from her son's birthday party to report on a scene at the famous Hollywood Sign. It's a grisly scene too... a naked man hanging from the sign wearing a red clown nose. The cop on site, Detective Riley, seems very eager to declare it a suicide, without even getting out of his car to walk up the hill and take a look. Carol doesn't think so, as she had had a brief interaction with the man on the sign the day before, and he in no way seemed suicidal. Another person at the scene, PI Gerhardt Chasen (Chase), doesn't think so either and spins her a tale of other recent deaths that have been called suicides, but he thinks are actually murder. Carol thinks that is crazy, and besides, what can she do about it? 

Carol has been given a shot at a late-night talk show and in the era of cutbacks in radio, she is eager to make a success of it. The first night is not going well. The program director suggests talking about City Council matters and there has been not a single call-in. Until Chase calls in and starts talking about his theory of the murders and a woman calling herself "Mustang Sally" calls in suggesting that the dead men were abusers and got what they deserved from the "Tribunal". The switchboard lights up! Can there be a group of women who help other women on the run, and have gone off the rails? Carol and Chase need to find Sally before another death occurs. Carol is not eager to get involved, especially with Chase. She is attracted to him and does not want to be.

Nancy Silverman has taken a realistic look at the problems faced by abused women. It's a serious issue but she manages to inject some humor while coping with job and personal pressures. I was particularly interested in her take on commercial radio. My husband was a radio DJ (a long, long time ago) and we still have friends in the business. The program director and other people at the station ring true to me. She also brings in well-developed secondary characters: her friend, Sheri, and washed-up Hollywood psychic, Misty Dawn. Room for Doubt is the first of this series that I have read but I'm sure I will be catching up.

Thanks to Henery Press and NetGalley for an advance copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING- 4 Stars

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