Welcome Back Kellye Garrett

Congratulations GinnyJC you are the winner of Kellye’s book.  Watch for an email from her!

I am so happy Kellye Garrett is back with her Agatha Award winning series! I hope you all get to meet her some day in person because she is a ball of fire and has the best smile. Kellye is giving away a copy of one of her books to someone who leaves a comment (US only)!

And the award goes to . . .

. . . Dayna Anderson, the semi-famous actress turned PI who steps up her sleuthing swagger in this follow-up to breakout hit Hollywood Homicide, winner of the Lefty Award and the Agatha Award for Best First Novel!

Tinseltown’s awards season is in full swing, and everyone is obsessed with dressing up, scoring free swag, and getting invited to the biggest awards shows of the year. But when celebrity publicist Lyla Davis is killed, the festive mood comes to an abrupt halt.

Apprentice private eye Dayna Anderson thinks she’s uncovered the killer. Unfortunately, what starts as an open-and-shut case turns out to be anything but. Diving deeper into the investigation, Dayna gets a backstage look at gossip blogging, Hollywood royalty, and one of entertainment’s most respected awards shows―all while trying to avoid her own Hollywood ending.

Thank you guys for having me back! My second book came out on August 8, which means I’ve been talking about the book a lot—with interviewers, on panels, to random strangers stuck in an elevator with me. One of the questions that always comes up is: Where did you get the idea for the book?

It’s obviously a great question. One that most authors have gotten and probably have better answers than I do.

For me, I subscribe to the truth is stranger than fiction ideology. Much like your favorite Law & Order: SVU episode. I love to rip straight from the headlines.

For Hollywood Ending, I based the investigation on the murder of Ronni Chasen.

My victim is an awards show publicist named Lyla Davis. Chasen was an extremely popular and renowned publicist who directed over 100 Academy Award campaigns.

Lyla is murdered during an ATM robbery gone wrong after leaving an awards show cocktail party. Chasen was tragically killed during a botched carjacking attempt after leaving a premiere party for a movie.

My main character, Dayna, uncovers the actual triggerman within days. Just as quickly, Dayna realizes there may be more to the story. Police found Chasen’s killer within weeks. But questions still abound years after her death.

There are more similarities but for the sake of spoilers, I’ll stop here.

As you can imagine, Chasen’s murder was the talk of Hollywood. It was covered religiously by all the major entertainment trades, local news outlets and even The New York Times. Law & Order—okay the short-lived Law & Order: Los Angeles spin-off—even did their own take involving a Hollywood stylist. Fellow mystery writer Nancy Cole Silverman also based her amazing book very loosely on the case, opting to make her victim a powerful Hollywood agent coming home from an awards show.

There’s always the risk when you base fiction on a real-life event that people will already be bored before they even started because they know the story so well. How do you make it fresh and new?

For me, that’s where the characters and world of the series come in. My Detective by Day series are funny, lightweight books that skewer towards being cozy mysteries. So my take on the Chasen story isn’t going to be similar to what they did on Law & Order all those years ago.

It’s also important for me to use anything ripped from the headlines as a jumping off point versus following actual events. (A lot of movies do this too. That’s why they always say based on a true story. It gives you leeway to be creative.)

In Hollywood Ending, I follow the Chasen story for the first act and then let my imagination take hold for acts two and three. I lead Dayna into two other worlds that I find equally as fascinating as real-life crime—gossip blogs and awards shows. Hopefully, the end result is an entertaining story that ultimately surprises the reader.

Readers:  Are there any books that you’ve read where you recognized the crime?


Kellye Garrett writes the Detective by Day mysteries about a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress who takes on the deadliest role of her life: Homicide Detective. The first, Hollywood Homicide, won the Agatha, Lefty and Independent Publisher “IPPY” awards for best first novel and is nominated for Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards. The second, Hollywood Ending, will be released on August 8, 2018 from Midnight Ink. Prior to writing novels, Kellye spent eight years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for Cold Case. She now works for a leading media company and serves on the Board of Directors for Sisters in Crime as the organization’s Publicity Liaison.  You can learn more at KellyeGarrett.com.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://kellyegarrett.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kellyekell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kellyegarrettauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kellyekell

Amazon: amazon.com/author/kellyegarrett


51 Thoughts

  1. Welcome back, Kellye! The new book sounds fabulous. I can’t think of a crime in a book that I recognized, although Hallie Ephron’s Night, Night, Sleep Tight is inspired by a famous murder that took place near her childhood home in Beverly Hills.

  2. I can’t think of any books I’ve read where I recognized the crime, but I have read some stories based on a real crime (I usually don’t know it until I get to the author’s note at the end). Honestly, I prefer when the crimes in books are fictional, even if the author was inspired by a real story. Real crimes come with too much sadness attached.

  3. Hi, Kellye! Lots of books out there based on, or inspired by, real crimes. Writers are thieves at heart, I believe, but mystery writers love puzzles. Real life puzzles that are not solved, or could be solved in a more intriguing way with a little fiction magic, are too tempting to resist. Best of luck with book #2!

  4. This sounds so good Kellye!! I didn’t know it was based on true events. And no, I’ve never read a book whereby I’ve recognized that it was based on true events; at least none that I can recall at the moment. Congratulations on the new release!! I’ve been loving that fabulous cover since its reveal. 😉

    1. Thank you. Everytime I look at the cover (and I look at it a lot since I currently have about 30 Author copies in my house), I fall in love with it a bit more.

  5. I’ll read any book that has as it’s basis the UK murder of James Bulger. For me, this crime remains one of the most horrific in history, so I think reading stories “inspired” by it helps me to process it. I have not factual evidence on this, but I would suspect that more crime novels started with this case as an inspiration than other other true crime (not counting cases like Ripper, where there were multiple victims). I can think of at least 5 Bulger-“based” crime novels just off the top of my head.

    As for Kellye’s book, it does justice to the Ronni Chasen case. And manages to be “fun” at the same time, which is not an easy road to walk. I can’t wait to see where Dayna goes next.

    (Keep me out of the drawing, of course!)

  6. Great to read this, Kellye and I hope you are having fun with the new book launch. Best wishes! To answer your question about books being inspired by true crime – I’ve had the opposite experience several times. Writing something and THEN reading news that comes weirdly close!

  7. Welcome back to the Wickeds, Kellye! I think there was also a Major Crimes based on the Chasen murder if I remember correctly. I’ve based one of my Maine Clambake mysteries on a crime story my mother told me. She claimed it was true, but I never could confirm it. Two of my short stories are based on real characters and real crimes, both stories told to me by friends, one of whom was a victim. But, as you say, these are jumping off points.

    1. Thanks for having me again, Barbara. I figured that there were probably more than just the law and order. Major Crimes makes sense considering it’s based in LA. I’ll have to go find it. How did your friend react to you using it in the short story?

      1. In the first case, my friend not only knew, but had urged me to use the story. It is an awful story about an oncologist who serially seduced and had affairs with the daughters, sisters and even mothers of his patients. These women were typically on their own, staying in a town where they didn’t live, without their home base and support systems, and, of course, under tremendous stress due to their loved one’s illness. He would abandon them, and the patient, when it became clear treatment was no longer holding off the inevitable. Just awful. My friend was a victim, and I gave her sweet revenge, so she felt good.

        In the other case it was an equally awful story an elderly neighbor had told an acquaintance of mine about something that happened far in the past. You know how sometimes you hear something so terrible, you just have to tell someone else, just to lighten the burden of the knowledge? I think that is why this acquaintance told me the story. She admitted she was nervous when she read my short story, but then realized it was fiction and neither of the participants in the story would recognize themselves. Then she relaxed and enjoyed the story.

    2. I can’t figure out how to respond to your response. I’m glad the burden was lifted by reading your work. And that story is horrible. I’m glad that we’re finally shining a light on doctors taking advantage of patients and their families.

  8. Thanks for joining us today, Kellye! I based my second book, The Longest Yard Sale, on a crime that occurred when we were living in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I can’t wait to read Hollywood Ending and many more books in your series!

  9. Hi,
    I can’t think of any books where I’ve recognized the crime but Law & Order is my all time favorite TV show so I know the ripped from the headlines formula well.

    1. Ha ha. My sister loves Law and Order. When I worked on Cold Case, we didn’t rip from headlines but we did like to base it on true historical events.

  10. Kellye, I thoroughly enjoyed HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE and I’m sure I’ll love this one, too.

    Other than the aforementioned NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT by Hallie Ephron, nothing comes to mind for me. I usually don’t know something was based on a real event until the end and because I don’t follow the news that closely, I rarely make the connection while reading.

    1. I think that’s good storytelling too. Putting such a good spin on it that the reader doesn’t realize it’s based on something in the news.

  11. Congratulations on your new book! This is a weird coincidence that you should ask the question about recognizing crimes–last summer my family went to the beach. I had downloaded a mystery series that used the beach town we were staying at as a setting. Given the cover pages, I thought they would be great beach reads/lighthearted etc. They weren’t. They were actually so disturbing that I kept looking over my shoulder for marauding bikers etc, especially because the setting was so detailed that I could literally go to the center of town and point where some poor character’s body was found. Anyways, I knew I had pre-ordered another mystery that was hopefully a bit more ‘happy’ on my kindle, but I couldn’t download (no wifi in the area) Late one evening my family and I went to get ice cream and came across a small library. I immediately pulled my kindle out and started waving near the locked doors. When that didn’t work, I walked around the building, in the pitch dark, with the kindle raised over my head (my family sensibly decided to leave me alone since I looked more than a little crazy) Finally the wifi ‘took’ and my pre-ordered book downloaded. That book was Hollywood Homicide. It was fantastic and I am forever grateful to you for brightening up my beach reads that week.

    1. Hi Sarah. What a story! I have the most overactive imagination so I’d also be looking over my shoulder. And I’m so happy Hollywood Homicide could save the day!

  12. Thanks so much for the insight into Kellye’s books. I am looking forward to getting one of her books to read in order to form my own opinion.

  13. Congratulations on the new book, Kellye. I really enjoyed Book 1 and am looking forward to Book 2. Please don’t enter me in the contest…I was lucky enough to win a copy in a FB contest sponsored by Midnight Ink.

  14. I’ve never realized as I read a book that it was based on real life, though there probably have been at least a couple. With that said, I would love to win your new book and know that I was having a new experience! Congrats on all the awards for Book #1.

  15. Either I hadn’t heard about this murder, or I’ve forgitten about. I didn’t recognize your jumping off point at all.

    And if you haven’t read these books yet, I highly recommend you do. They are fantastic!

  16. The book sounds wonderful, I love books either based on or inspired by real events. On that topic, I have a quick question. It sounds like your book is some place between “based on” on “inspired by” in the sense that it isn’t a re-telling of the actual story but the parallels make it more than simply sparked by it. So the question: have you had a story start forming in your mind based on little more than a sentence or two from a news story, or even a personal conversation? A story that, other than that one comment, bears no resemblance to the situation it came from?

    Not sure all that makes sense. I guess I’m asking just how small of a grain of a true story is enough for you to spin your own?

  17. Congrats Kellye on your new book. I am so excited to read and review a print copy so thank you for the chance. I am also glad that you are on this blog as they do such a good job.

  18. Congrats again on the new release, Kellye! LOVED Hollywood Homicide! Just started Hollywood Ending and am thoroughly enjoying Day’s newest adventure!

  19. Thanks for visiting the Wickeds once more, Kellye! I don’t tend to bas my own books on real crimes but I do love to use real historical events to enrich the world in which the crimes take place. It always inspires me when I go poking through old newspapers and books.

    1. Hi Jessie. Thanks for having me back again. I’ve also looked at old articles. I love the longer pieces you find in like the New Yorker or Vanity Fair.

  20. Hi Kellye,

    I loved Book 1 and am in the middle of Book 2. As with Book 1, I can already tell that I will want to reread Book 2. You are really great at building suspense!

    I don’t think I ever began reading a book with the knowledge that it was based on something that actually happened.

    Know that I am looking forward to more books from you!

  21. I can’t remember actually recognizing a crime as I read, but I have seen articles stating that a book I had read was based on a particular crime. Sorry to say you are a new to me author, but have already added you to my list. Dayna sounds very interesting, can’t wait to read all about her. Thank you for the chance to win your book.

  22. Congrats on your new book, Kellye! I don’t know of any books I’ve read that were based on true stories. If I have they were probably enough changes made by the author that I couldn’t recognize it.

  23. Kellye is a new author to me and I like the.description of the series. I don’t believe I’ve read any books where I recognized the crime that was committed in the book. I suppose a little bit of true crime does creep into mysteries.

  24. The book that I found based on a true crime was “Heartstone” by Philip Margolin. It was very close to a murder, abduction, murder that occurred in Portland, Oregon many years ago. They found the female victim on my birthday. Just creepy

  25. Congrats on the new book! I am going back to catch up. I like the premise and setting.

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