Popular soap star Jennifer Connolly’s looks and acting ability are inherited. Her mother, Abby, is a Hollywood legend -- a winner of Oscars and other honors. However, the fates have not been totally kind to Abby; she is now suffering from Parkinson's disease. To be with her mother, Jennifer has temporarily moved into Granger Mansion, to care for her as her condition deteriorates.
Granger Mansion was the home of an aspiring Hollywood magician. Filled with quirky secret passages, it touts a bizarre history. One of the side effects of the drugs that Abby takes is a hallucinogenic effect that makes her believe the walls are talking.
Abby becomes convinced that someone is going to kill Jennifer. She claims a whispered voice on the phone and a written message warned her. In order to protect Jennifer, Abby leans on the soap's director and producer to hire her stepson, Conar, an ex-Marine turned actor, to star in the soap. As his only parental role model, Conar has loved Abby forever, but he and Jennifer despise each other. He is willing to do whatever Abby wants, so he arrives to start his job on the soap and act as bodyguard for Jennifer. He moves into the mansion as well.
Because Conar was hired at twice the salary of everyone else in the soap, he encounters tension there as well. But this soon gets swept aside in the wake of murders of Hollywood starlets or wannabe starlets. The Granger Mansion is implicated since the killer apparently threw the first victim from the Granger property into the canyon below. The murders are copycat murders from old Alfred Hitchcock movies.
Heather Graham creates and sustains the suspense throughout the novel, using the interesting technique of making almost every male character a credible suspect. But Long, Lean and Lethal is a romantic suspense novel as well, and she also does a fine job of bringing two warring parties, first to neutral ground, and then to a passionate love. Sparks of one kind or another fly as Jennifer and Conar finally find a common ground in their relationship.
The characters are well developed and that extends to secondary characters as well, no doubt setting the stage for the subsequent books in this new trilogy. The dialogue is crisp and witty without being too cute or too predictable and the book teems with tension of all kinds.
Long, Lean and Lethal is an enjoyable summer read.