Message From The Author
Theres nothing quite so funor so sadas the Hollywood dream. The games that are played, the victories, the foibles, the heartbreak. Hollywood, California is where celluloid fantasies took root and flourished; where a business with totally new rules was begun, and American royalty was created. Amid the tinsel and absurdities, real down-to-earth people working hard and, with tremendous creativity, flourishing as well. The good is that dreams are allowed, and the bad, of course, is that they may
My first love was theater. With such a major in my hand,
I did dinner theater, an advertisement for a product called Trim-Twist (Suzanne Sommers had best watch out!), the worlds worst Kung-Fu movie, and training tapes for various corporations. After our third child was born, I stayed home to write, thinking that one day I would go back and storm the world as Lady Macbeth. Though I love what I do, I remember so much of the insanity, the dreams, the trials, the fears, and to this day, I love the movies, television, theaterand I am fascinated by soaps.
Long, Lean, and Lethal, coming this June from Onyx, takes a close look at an age-old mixHollywood and murder, the hard life and the real people, the dream and living in LA. The cast of characters is near and dear to me, as real as the Hollywood dream. I hope, if youre fond of suspense, youll enjoy my take on California. In Long, Lean and LethaL
Tinsel Town is, like they say, to die for!
Write to me c/o Onyx Books, Penguin Putnam Group, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.
Abridged Prologue from LONG, LEAN AND LETHAL
The shower scene
The shower scene, oh, yes, it had been on his mind forever!
He loved film of all kinds, but most of all, he loved suspense. Or terror. He was a student par excellence of the genre. He knew the names of all the actors, the directors. He especially loved the master, the one man he considered to be the best of all time: Alfred Hitchcock.
He knew how the shower scene should be done. He had learned by studying the master. Angle by angle. Each movement of the camera. He had been so close to seeing it done right againso close. There were so many times when
he had known just how a similar scene should go.
Closenever quite there.
The original shower scene had been made famous by Hitchcocks Psycho. Filmed in black and white, it had elicited a gripping terror unlike any awakened before. Taking a shower had never been the same. Following the original release of the movie, hundreds of thousands of women who lived alone or traveled on their own had been driven to taking cautious sponge bathswith the doors to their bathrooms open, their eyes peeled on the point of entry.
She stood in the shower. Just like Janet Leigh in the movie, she was a vulnerable beauty, a stunning young woman. She was tall, lithe, supple, both sensually lean and curved. Eyes closed, she tilted her face to the spray of the water, and with her head thus thrown back, the length of her hair waved just over the curve of her buttocks.
The shower curtain was nearly transparent. It enhanced each movement she made. To the beauty bathing, there was no sense of imminent danger. Just the feel of a cool shower on a hot day.
The killer moved closer.
The audience would knowwould want to warn her.
If there was an audience.
Naturally, the killer wielded a knife. A knife was necessary for a shower scene. Death was not so simple, so sudden, so clean, with a knife. It glittered, even in shadow, catching what light could be found. It drew the eye, caused the heart to stop. It gave so much painand yet a hint of hope. If one could escape the bladeif the knife struck the wrong places
There she was, so beautiful behind the transparent curtain. Head tilted, form perfect, lush. Like the Janet Leigh character, she wasnt at all innocent. But an audience would care. Because she was so vulnerable.
Did she know yet? Did she sense the coming danger?
The stalker moved in silence against that pounding spray of water.
Closer, closerAnd she sawThe knife
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