Author Kathryn Leigh Scott has written a sequel to her novel “Down and Out in Beverly Heels,” which introduced readers to amateur sleuth Meg Barnes, who relies on detective skills she learned playing a popular character named Jinx Fogarty on a TV show. “Jinxed” throws Meg into a new case, still with personal aspects. Meg’s love life is challenging – she’s dating Jack Mitchell, the FBI agent who was in charge of the investigation of her fugitive husband, a relationship where romance is still tinged with resentment.
“Had he given me an inkling of the FBI’s history with the man I knew as Paul Stevens,” she muses, I could have protected myself. Burned into my brain is the sense that I was treated as nothing more than collateral damage…Paul made loving him easy, but that was his agenda, with a big payoff for him in the end. With Jack, loves run deeper, but trust still comes hard.”
Meg is currently scraping acting work up wherever possible, including a web series with virtually no budget. Her excitement over word that a major network is rebooting Jinx is short-lived when she finds out the show will be done with an entirely new cast. Her consolation prize is to coach her replacement.
Chelsea Horne, The younger actress who’s landed the part of Jinx is talented and temperamental, and promptly disappears. Meg’s FBI agent lover warns her not to “do the Jinx thing,” but what fun would that be? Besides, the chips are falling far too close to Meg herself to let sleeping dogs lie.
This is familiar territory to the author, a veteran actress who co-starred on the classic gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” and the 1971 M-G-M feature “House of Dark Shadows.” In addition, she enjoyed a lengthy run with James Stewart in “Harvey” in London’s West End. She has appeared in many television series and miniseries, including Barbara Taylor Bradford’s “Voice of the Heart,” opposite Daniel J. Travanti in “Murrow,” George C. Scott in “The Last Days of Patton” and Powers Boothe in “Philip Marlowe, Private Eye.” She was a series regular with Brian Dennehy in “Big Shamus, Little Shamus.” Her feature film credits include “Providence,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Brannigan,” “The Greek Tycoon” and “Assassination.” She will be seen in the mid-season premiere of Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on March 3rd.
As to how her own experience informed “Jinxed,” the author says:
“My voice is very much the voice of Meg Barnes, so my friends tell me! Of course, I draw on my acting background, particularly what it’s like to have a long career and still have the desire to remain relevant and working. Meg deals with seeing a younger actress recreate a role she originated and I’ve certainly experienced that! But Jinxed is fiction that may be peopled with characters that seem familiar, but in fact are a product of my imagination. I think more importantly, my process of working as an actor informs my writing process. I am very aware of incorporating all the senses in setting a scene and making sure that dialogue is organic, not just a means to explain and move the story along. Heroines have their flaws and villains their virtues, which is what gives character texture and layers. But it would be a mistake to simply relate my own real experiences as an actor and foist them on a fictional character . . . Meg Barnes is her own person and she is not me.”
Fast-paced, breezy and often surprising, “Jinxed” is a romantic mystery in a vein pleasntly similar to Janet Evanovich. Kathryn Leigh Scott also has a flair for loading her supporting cast with colorful and eccentric characters. The author’s literary style is witty and conversational, and she has a knack for making the reader feel they’re getting a personally guided tour through Hollywood territory on a backstage pass.
“Jinxed” is available from Amazon in both print and ebook editions.