Paper Doll (Jana Lane Mystery: Book 1)


Jana Lane was a child-star movie darling in the sixties, but after a traumatic experience at eighteen retired from acting. Twenty years later, she’s married with children, dealing with her envious sister and interfering father. When she starts having flashbacks of the “attack” that sent her into retirement, dangerous things start happening around her.  After being approached about a comeback film, the danger escalates. Her suspects: husband, sister, father, best friend, a fan, her new producer . . . no one is above suspicion. When her father and sister keep her in the dark about the year she lost post-attack, she decides to do some investigating on her own.


The protagonist of this psychological thriller is an annoying mix of innocent Pollyanna with a “blind to all others” type of self-centeredness. One finds oneself wondering why she’d wait twenty years to seek answers to her past. The opening scene caused immediate confusion, as the year is in italics, along with the flashback episode. It took a while to discover that the flashback occurred in 1960, rather than 1980. This could easily have been avoided. The points of view shifted erratically, with no warning or transition, but otherwise the writing is clean.  The story is filled with nasty, unlikeable characters, as well as quirky characters this reader couldn’t decide whether to like or not. There were a couple of head-scratching plot gaps and inconsistencies, but enough twists to keep the reader turning the pages. 

Lori Leger