Hello! Here’s my final blog tour review for today. Thanks to Damp Pebbles, Fahrenheit Press and Duncan McMaster for letting me part of the tour for Video Killed the Radio Star.
What’s it about?
Money in the bank and his dream girl on his arm – life was looking pretty sweet for Kirby Baxter.
Of course it couldn’t last. Where would the fun be in that? This is a sequel after all.
After solving the murder of a movie starlet the previous year, Kirby is doing his best to live down his burgeoning reputation as part-time Interpol agent and amateur sleuth.
Then reality TV comes knocking next door.
Million Dollar Madhouse is a reality TV show where a bunch of washed up celebrities are thrown together in a dilapidated mansion while their attempts to renovate the building are broadcast 24/7 for the viewers delight.
Kirby’s quiet town is thrown into chaos by the arrival of camera crews, remote control video drones and a cast of characters including disgraced actress Victoria Gorham, political shock-jock Bert Wayne and reality TV royalty Kassandra Kassabian.
When one of the cast members turns up dead the local police turn to the only celebrity detective in town for help and draft an unwilling Kirby into their investigation.
The first body is only the beginning of another rip-roaring adventure for Kirby Baxter and with Gustav his loyal driver/valet/bodyguard/gardener/chef/ass-kicker at his side, our hero plunges into the fray with his usual stunning displays of deductive reasoning and sheer bloody luck.
I really enjoyed this story! After reading some quite heavy and worthy books of late, it was a breath of fresh air to read something that was fun and didn’t take itself too seriously.
The central plot revolves around a reality TV series where a group of over the hill stars do up a crumbling mansion, somewhere in upstate New York (I think). To be honest, I’d quite happily watch that show if it was on* and the structure works well around the TV show element. In fact, the story is laid out in channels and episodes, so McMaster really leans into that side of it.
In terms of thriller quality, this is a pretty good one. It never faltered or stalled for me, which is quite a rare quality! Every character is clearly outlined and contributes something to the plot; this is impressive for a supporting cast this size. I also found it easy to get into and follow what was going on. I hadn’t read any of McMaster’s work before this one- this is the second Kirby Baxter novel, I believe- but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment or understanding of the action. I also liked the characters being based on real life celebrities. The easiest one to get is Kassandra Kassabian who is clearly drawn from a Kardashian, but the others were harder. I reckon I could hazard a pretty good guess at Victoria Gorham, though…
I did guess who did it in the end, as there was one clue that caught my attention and unravelled it for me, but I didn’t guess why. Anyway, trying to guess whodunnit is part of the fun for me, so it’s definitely not a bad thing. I also like the intertextuality; MacMaster is clearly an Agatha Christie fan!
Would I recommend it?
Yes, I would, especially if you’re looking for something more light-hearted.
*I have a bit of a thing for Grand Designs and, more specifically, Kevin McCloud. It’s something about the way he says ‘cladding’…
Video Killed the Radio Star by Duncan McMaster is published by Fahrenheit Press priced £8.95.