Retro Reading: Dead Air by Mary Kennedy
For This Radio Show, Guests are Dying to be Booked
The first installment of Mary Kennedy's Talk Radio Mystery series literally starts off with a bang and after a long lull begins to pick up into a pretty good mystery.
In Dead Air we're introduced to talk radio host, Maggie Walsh, who's popular show, "On the couch with Maggie Walsh," is interrupted by a bomb blast intended for her guest Guru Sanjay Gingii, a self styled New Age prophet. Sanjay may have a lot of followers, but someone wants to see him dead and there's a lot of people who'd love to take a shot at him.
After appearing on Maggie's show, the guru is found dead in his hotel room next to Maggie's condominium complex. The prime suspect is her roommate, Lark Merriweather, who claimed she had ran to the drugstore but ended up going to see him. As a follower of his she takes the chance to meet him and have him autograph his latest book.
While she remembers meeting him she can't remember too much of their encounter but the police go after her.
As Maggie tries to help Lark out, her investigative reporter friend from the local paper gives her some bad news about Lark's past which Maggie didn't see coming. It appears as though sweet, wholesome, never hurt a fly Lark has a criminal past. Something Maggie didn't know about.
To top things off, Maggie's over the top actress mother Lola arrives in town after doing some shopping nearby and is drawn into the murder.
Lola's just signed with a new agent in Miami and while not a major star, Lola uses her acting ability to get closer to a couple of suspects on Maggie's list. One of those happens to be Sanjay's assistant, Miriam Dobosh, who was looking to rise within Sanjay's empire.
By introducing Lola, the whole story takes on a new twist as mother and daughter team up to try and solve the murder of Sanjay while trying to help free Lark. Lola is one of those characters to watch in the next two installments and I'm sure she'll be in both of them.
Dead Air virtually has a few different plots going on at the same time. Not only is Maggie a licensed psychologist from New York, but she's adjusting to life in a small Florida town, starting a new career in radio and Kennedy also brings up the issue of cults and how people are brainwashed into believing their new found "prophet" through the character of Kathryn Sinclair who "lost" her daughter to the guru.
If Kennedy hadn't introduced Lola in this book it would have fallen flat but it was wise of her to bring in Lola since she provides the relief that's so desperately needed.