Monday, November 16, 2009

DIal Om For Murder - Diane Killian


Dial Om For Murder
A Mantra For Murder Mystery
Diana Killian
Berkley Prime Crime

Mystery

Life has changed quite a bit lately for A.J. Alexander. She’s traded her fast-paced life as head of her own PR firm for a life of (supposedly) peace and calm as the new owner of the Sacred Balance Studio. Her Aunt Di left her the yoga studio and a new way of life. The one snag is her annoying co-manager, who was also specified in the will. And her ex-husband, who finally admitted that he was gay, but still wants to be best friends. And, of course, her irrepressible mother Elysia, a former actress.

And let’s not forget her two “star” clients. One is Nicole Manning, who actually has a TV series and a few movies on her resume. The other is Barbie Siragusa, whose mob boss husband is serving a prison term while she makes her own reality show. The morning’s first crisis arises when Nicole calls in a panic, having left her $3,000 cell phone (it’s gold plated, of course) in the locker room. And she simply must have it right now, since she’s expecting a call from a producer. After finding the ridiculous phone, A.J. ends up running it out to Nicole’s home, but only after another run-in with Barbie about A.J.’s refusal to allow a reality show film crew into her yoga classes.

Nicole’s house is a madhouse, with florists and caterers and who knows who running around, preparing for a party that evening. A redhead nearly bowls A.J. over on her way inside. She finds Nicole in her home office. Unfortunately, she finds her dead, having been hit over the head with an ice sculpture. With all the commotion, it could have been anyone. Barbie hated Nicole, feeling that one of her most famous roles was based on Barbie’s life. And the police are looking for the president of Nicole’s fan club. The club set up by A.J.’s PR firm and run by a woman who apparently doesn’t exist. If this is peace and serenity, the wilds of the PR business are looking pretty good.

This is a great follow-up to the first book in the series, CORPSE POSE, and new readers will have no problems getting up to speed with the characters and their background. The one quibble I have is Elysia as the ‘meddling mother’ character. The plot and characters were ticking along quite nicely without her, in my opinion, until she makes her grand appearance about a third of the way through the novel. Her brand of comic relief just seemed somewhat out of place and unnecessary.

Very much on the plus side, the mystery gets started right away, and the suspect pool is satisfyingly large and diverse. Added to this is a subplot about Andy, A.J.’s ex, who comes for a surprise visit, looking the worse for wear. A.J. is a great character, and very realistic as a woman whose life was thrown completely off-track. She’s got her new life and yoga studio, and she’s making it work with no whining or excuses, even in the face of a murder investigation and reality TV cameras. I’m really enjoying this series.

Rating: 7 ½
November 2009
ISBN# 978-0-425-27705-3

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