Wednesday, 29 May 2019


I have had a soft spot for Tasmina Perry ever since the release of DADDY’S GIRLS in 2006. She writes the kind of glitzy novels you want to invest yourself in. She does not always hit bull’s eye but she always comes close. One thing she’s done right is make the trashy novel (or bonkbuster if you will) hot again after a dormant decade or so. I admit I have yet to read all of her backlist but I’m getting there. One I did savour is her latest, FRIEND OF THE FAMILY (available now in any book format), which was handed to me by the folks at Headline and NetGalley and which deserves to hit the best-seller list just as well.  

FRIEND OF THE FAMILY features yet again a strong independent woman who this time is an editor for a fashion magazine. Her name is Amy and she is happily married with child. When a spot opens at a rival magazine she jumps at the chance of getting the position despite being already swamped by responsibilities like taking on a friend’s daughter as an intern and letting her stay at her house. When her regular nanny is suddenly injured, Josie, the intern, agrees to take the nanny’s place for the duration of the family vacation in Provence. But of course things turn quickly sour when Amy starts suspecting Josie of deliberately sabotaging her life. If right, can she stop her before it’s too late?

This variation of THE HANDS THAT ROCK THE CRADLE and SINGLE WHITE FEMALE may be nothing new but done well it is just as riveting. Tasmina Perry has what many glam fiction novelists lack nowadays: the ability to make you care about the characters. FRIEND OF THE FAMILY is filled with interesting people who are far from being perfect. The book is a cross between a suspense thriller and a glitzy novel and is carefully thought-out. If having a front seat view of the well-to-dos (exotic locations, beautiful gowns, glam shoots) is your thing, then look no further—and it will give you chills as an extra. The novel also goes back and forth in time to cement the tumultuous lives of certain characters. And that climax, trust me on this, it does not disappoint. Yes, FRIEND OF THE FAMILY is a must-read. Brava, Miss Perry.

Until next post—Martin  

Thursday, 16 May 2019


Two years ago when I sat down to watch TVs FEUD created by Ryan Murphy I immediately remembered this bio by Shaun Considine which I had a blast reading and which is the inspiration for the high-rated series. In it Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, playing Bette Davis and Joan Crawford respectively, winningly bring back the Hollywood glamour as well as the much-publicised rivalry between the two. It was a fabulous eight-parter of bitchiness, cigarette smoking, on-spot re-enactments, superb gowns, lavish locations, and most importantly, a slew of dramatic moments that touched a nerve in all of us. Murphy and his crew delivered a great season—and we would have gladly taken another one if FX hadn’t cancelled the series soon after.  

Thank goodness we still have the Considine reprint from Graymalkin Media to go back to (in my case it’s the 1990 paperback edition from Dell) if we are ever in need of a fix. I never get tired of reading about these two legendary divas who allegedly nearly came to blows on the set of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE. Their love-hate relationship is as famous as their tormented lives behind the camera. The author clearly has fun taking us back before, during and after the filming of this timeless classic. It is a thrill ride you’ll likely never forget. Sure the content sometimes reminds of an ET interview vault but, who cares, the fun is certainly there for any movie classic buff to enjoy. 

I will certainly pick up BETTE & JOAN: THE DIVINE FEUD again one of these days, just to remind myself how much cray-cray these two broads really were. I have a better penchant for Crawford, probably because of the MOMMIE DEAREST craze, but give me a Davis or a Crawford film marathon on TCM and I’m gone for the day. It’s probably a gay thing but to those who get it with or without the label attached to them, more power to you I say. Now if only Ryan Murphy could tag himself to Shaun Casidine’s other highly delectable bio BARBARA STREISAND: THE WOMAN, THE MYTH, THE MUSIC and adapt it to the screen, big or small, I would die a very happy fan.

Until next post—Martin  
The 2017 reprint edition