When reporter Carol Childs is called to the scene of a body dump she has no idea she’s about to uncover a connection to a string of missing girls. Young, attractive women drawn to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood via an internet promise of stardom and romance have been disappearing. A judge’s daughter leaves behind a clue and a trip down Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame reveals a connection to a high powered real estate mogul and to a cartel targeting girls for human trafficking.
Old Hollywood has its secrets, its impersonators and backdoor entrances to old speakeasies and clubs where only those with the proper credentials can go. And when Carol Childs gets too close, she finds herself politically at odds with powers that threaten to undue her career and like the very girls she’s seeking, disappear.
By Nancy Cole Silverman
I like writing about characters that aren’t ordinary people. I have a collection of unusual people in my life. It’s my talent. I seem to be a magnet for them. Perhaps because I was born the middle child, and middle children, in my opinion, are peace markers.
I was in my early twenties when I first noticed my penchant for usual character types. I had gone to live with my then mother-in-law so that I might finish my senior year in college while my ex-husband was overseas, courtesy of the Vietnam War and US Air Force. My mother-in-law was a woman unto herself. Widowed in the late 1960’s she chose to reinvent herself from retired colonel’s wife to that of an earth mother. Overnight our home went from shipshape to that of a commune with a host of characters that still tickle my imagination.
At the time I teased her she was the world’s first hippy. Her reinvention included disconnecting the house from the city’s power grid and going deep into the exploration of solar energy and organic gardening. In hindsight she was steps ahead of us all, but at the time, I worried about her sanity.
Overnight our house went from a typical suburban three-bedroom ranch style home, adjacent to the college campus with neatly trimmed hedges and a well-maintained yard, to a menagerie of barnyard animals that worked for their super. Our backyard was manicured by goats, chickens ran wild and lay their eggs wherever they pleased and cardboard solar stoves spouted up from between the weeds in various stages of development with their tin foil reflectors, like sun worshipers, pointed to the sun.
While I tried to balance the role of student with that of supportive daughter-in-law, Mumsy continued to surprise me. Our home became a commune, filled with drifters. An aging Irish tenor, with a hollow walking stick complete with straw that he called his Johnny Walker, a self-proclaimed astrologist who climbed on top of the house every night and sat naked beneath the stars. (No, I never went there to check it out, but he did boast about his moon-bathing and highly recommended it for his health), and a four-hundred pound mathematician who lived in the attic and believed in cosmic influence of solar ants.
I could go on, but my point is that good stories are built around interesting characters, people with unusual hobbies or ways of looking at the world. Or sometimes, interesting people are those who try the hardest to appear normal and harbor secrets we’d never suspect.
In my new book Beyond a Doubt, Carol Childs, my protagonist, is called to the scene of a murder. Her investigation uncovers an unusual connection to a high profile city official whose extracurricular activities have a very dark side. Without my penchant for collecting unusual people in my life, I might never have imagined such a character.
About the Author
Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in news and talk radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. But it wasn’t until 2001 after she retired from news and copywriting that she was able to sit down and write fiction fulltime. Much of what Silverman writes about today she admits is pulled from events that were reported on from inside some of Los Angeles’ busiest newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. In the last ten years she has written numerous short stories and novelettes. Today Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce and two standard poodles.