Porcelain Doll (A Jana Lane Mystery Book 2)

Joe Cosentino
NarratoR:: Derick Snow

MYSTERY:  Set in 1982 in upstate New York, ex-child star Jana Lane is offered the chance to star in a thriller to be filmed on her estate. Tensions are immediately apparent as the assistant film director oversteps his position and stirs trouble with others on the set. When he suffers an accident, Jana suspects foul play and investigates. At the same time, she must deal with condemnation from a local cable preacher who does not like the fact that she is organizing an AIDS fundraiser and considers her new film to be "immoral." As more sinister incidents occur and another dead body is found, Jana is running out of time to find the killer before she becomes the next victim.

Suspects abound in “Porcelain Doll,” and that together with an unexpected plot twist will keep listeners guessing until the end. For those familiar with the 80s, the backdrop of AIDS and the ignorance and misinformation surrounding the disease, along with the rise of the religious right, make for a powerful setting. Nonetheless, the slow pacing of the story and the excessive description used for every object, item of clothing, and so on, detract from the core mystery and the listening experience. Jana Lane also suffers from a lack of clear motivation in her behavior and actions. A deeper point of view would have helped.

Derick Snow narrates the story, establishing a several distinct voices to represent the numerous characters. The narration is professionally performed and of high quality throughout. Listeners might have one quibble. The enunciation and pausing given to lists of descriptive adjectives and phrases occurring throughout the story gives them greater importance than they deserve. Fans of Jana Lane will be delighted with this new audio rendition.

Tricia Hill