Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Book Review: The Screenwriter

By Sara Steven

The perfect ghost writer is silent, unassuming…

… and knows which secrets are worth keeping

I’d hoped my screen-writing career would have taken off by now, anything to stop me from dealing with yet another jumped-up celebrity who thinks their story is worth telling.

But when my agent tells me which celeb wants me to write their memoir. Well, I can’t deny my interest is piqued.

Blythe Hopper, former Hollywood star. An Oscar winner, no less.

But more famous recently for shooting her husband. One shot between the eyes.

It’s the best story! But I must admit, I have a different reason to want to visit her beautiful Hampstead mansion.

You see, her husband emailed me. Says he has answers to questions I’ve asked my entire life. The only trouble is, the email was sent two days after he was already dead.

A ghost. Just like me.

So if Blythe wants to tell all, I’m going to make sure I’m the one she talks to. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Marnie, a down on her luck ghostwriter-turned-failed screenwriter, is given the opportunity to ghostwrite for a scandalous actress (Blythe) who is best known in recent years for killing her husband. At first, it appears that Marnie’s motivation in even taking the job is due to her need for survival. Her boyfriend has left her, and when the pilot she’d written goes belly up, she needs some form of income to pay her already delinquent rent. I loved how the stakes were continually raised for Marnie in that regard. But what we quickly discover is that she’s received an email from Blythe’s deceased husband, letting her know that he has information pertaining to family secrets that she’s wanted answers to for most of her life. 

From the moment she steps inside of the gates and grounds of what is known as “The Towers,” there are immediate ominous undertones. Ludo, Blythe’s assistant, refuses to allow Marnie to explore the grounds, or to do much of anything, other than to stay as a prisoner within the high-guarded walls. Blythe deflects during their much-needed conversations about the memoir Marnie is to ghostwrite for Blythe, and while Marnie does her best to investigate under such stringent guidelines, clues and hints towards Blythe’s past and possible leads to Marnie’s past begin to coincide. Most of the reading experience for me was shrouded in mystery and intrigue. I never knew what would be lurking around each dark, dank corner. Suddenly, the body count of deaths (Blythe’s husband included) has gone up to six potential victims by Blythe’s hand. Or, was it someone else entirely? I was just as curious and fearful of the outcome as Marnie was!

I had my suspicions as to the ultimate truths–not only where Blythe and her sordid past are concerned, but the answers to Marnie’s number one question. But as I read along, I’d get sidetracked down another dark corridor, much like Marnie when she navigates her way inside of The Towers. In the end, I wasn’t terribly surprised when Marnie is given what she came there for, but I was thrown off guard by a lot of it. She gets a lot more than she bargained for. 

The premise behind The Screenwriter kept me hooked from start to finish! It was such a clever storyline, something I could see turned into a mystery made-for-TV movie. It was a great psychological thriller, a definite five-star experience!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK * Amazon US * Apple

Amanda Reynolds is the bestselling psychological suspense author whose debut novel, Close To Me, was adapted as a major six-part TV series for Channel 4 in 2021. Previously published by Headline, her books have been translated into multiple languages. Amanda lives near Cheltenham.

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