More Than You Know
Early on in More Than You Know, the heroine says it would be “too much like a movie” to hire a private investigator to help her with her problems. She doesn’t seem to realize that her story is already a lot like a movie, not a Hollywood blockbuster, but a direct-to-video thriller. It’s a little melodramatic, a little cheesy, but not entirely without some entertainment value.
Toni Callender is a big Hollywood star accused of murdering a sleazy porn producer some believe she was sleeping with. As the book begins, she is acquitted of the crime, but naturally that’s only the beginning of her troubles. She retreats to Home Place, her family home in Big Sur. On the way there, another car forces her from the road.
Meanwhile, her agent Jan receives a desperate call from a teenage girl named Maren. Toni once met with Maren’s adoptive parents when she was researching adoption for a movie role. At least, that’s what most people think, although there’s far more to their relationship, which seemed fairly obvious to me even if the author took her time stating it explicitly. In any case, Maren is also connected to the murder trial, because it was Maren’s connection to the porn producer that took Toni to his office the night he was murdered.
Toni is anxious to find Maren and make sure she is all right. Her agent suggests she hire a private investigator named Damon Bradley to locate the girl. Desperate, Toni does hire the brooding P.I. The attraction smolders between them, while an unseen stalker also tracks Toni’s every move.
This isn’t a bad read and the story unfolds at a leisurely pace – not really slow, never quite boring, but also not exactly gripping either. For a suspense story it fails to generate much tension and lacks the excitement readers crave. The mystery is easily solved and the plotting is somewhat lazy – the final showdown in particular seems awkward and lurches in out of nowhere, mainly because the groundwork for this subplot wasn’t laid out all that well.
The author writes engagingly for the most part, though, which helps make the first few chapters in particular easy to get into. But this is a cheesy story, one of those books where actress-heroines pick up Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for movies that sound absolutely dreadful. And yet the book does have its moments; there’s a decent amount of atmosphere, it generally flows well, and is an easy read.
There really isn’t much to say about More Than You Know. It’s very much an average read, competently written, with nothing truly terrible or exceptional about it. If you can’t get enough of Hollywood stories, it may be worth a look. Otherwise, it’s very much like the kind of thriller you’d see on late-night cable: moderately entertaining while it lasts, but you’ve already started forgetting it once the credits start to roll.