A Max Skull and Margot O'Banion Mystery by Kit Sloane
Review: Filmmaker Max Skull spends precious little time actually producing his first independent movie when he and his editor Margot O'Banion head to Panama for location shooting in Location Location, the sixth mystery in this series by Kit Sloane.
Shortly after arriving in Panama, Max and Margot discover their financing is missing together with their line producer, Charley Greenfield. Charley had arranged for $3 million needed to film in Panama to be transferred to a local bank for which only he knew the account number; he had another $3 million in cash from an angel financier. No one actually believes Charley took off with the money, and that's confirmed when a short time later Max and Margot are informed by the police that Charley was found unconscious in another city near the Costa Rican border. Margot is dispatched to bring him back to Panama City, but when she gets there Charley has disappeared again. Despite losing $6 million even before filming starts, there is no shortage of people willing to invest in Max's film. Max is torn between accepting the money (a "loan" in his mind) and getting started, or postponing until Charley can be found.
Even if readers buy into the unrealistic premise of Location Location, there isn't much of a story that follows. Put into movie terms, this is a 90 minute film that's been stretched into a 2-hour showing. For the most part, Margot is the center of the action here which is fortuitous; when present, Max can be especially annoying.
The real entertainment here is in the characters of Sean Peters, Lydia Norris, and Venus Stromberg. The star of Max's movie, Sean is no doubt modeled here after a Tom Cruise kind of actor, only (slightly) more rational. He belongs to a sect (cult?) called Fateology. Lydia, a Fateologist, is Sean's handler. When Max asks her what are the precepts of Fateology, he's told, "The precepts are not a list of things, Mr. Skull. They are deep principles absorbed and assimilated through years, a lifetime or more, really, of study. My job is to facilitate the learning process." Finally, Venus is Sean's agent who is determined to save him from the clutches of Lydia. It's never quite clear in what context she is referring, as Lydia's beauty is extraordinary and, in Margot's words, she is a work of art.
The main plot ultimately involves characters of dubious repute and illicit motives for being so generous with offers to finance Max's film and yes, eventually there is a death that is deemed suspicious, but none of it really makes any sense. So, though neither Sean, Lydia, nor Venus plays a role in the disappearance of Charley or the film's financing, their mere presence is the primary reason to read Location Location.
Acknowledgment: Durban House provided a copy of Location Location for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Location Location: Panama
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Location Location by Kit Sloane — A Max Skull and Margot O'Banion Mystery
Publisher: Durban House
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: February 2008
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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