August 4, 2015

SVU #41, Escape to New York: The Show Must Go On

Posted in books tagged , , , at 6:26 pm by Jenn

Jessica's ridiculous orange coat is actually in the book

Jessica’s ridiculous orange coat is actually in the book

Summary: Jessica loooooves New York. She gets to hang out with Vince and go out to clubs and shop in really cool stores and see all sorts of interesting weirdos. She may be a little traumatized by her time in security training, but it’s nothing a little partying with a movie star until 3 a.m. won’t fix. Elizabeth is worried about Jess overdoing, which she definitely is, since she passes out a couple times. Vince is kind of clueless, since he doesn’t think that indicates that they should stay in more.

What Elizabeth should really worry about is the fact that Jessica doesn’t want to take over the lead in her play. When has Jess ever turned down the chance to be in the spotlight? Jessica is still stuck on becoming a bodyguard – specifically, Vince’s bodyguard. I guess it’s not enough to hang out with him and almost kiss him. Jess doesn’t admit that part of the reason she doesn’t want to do the play is she’s worried it will be awful, and she doesn’t want to be responsible for that. Fair enough.

But this leaves Elizabeth without a leading lady. Fortunately, Tom’s TV piece about Vince and the plays brings in a bunch of actresses who are excited to act opposite Vince. Things are also looking up for Tom, who has a lead on a job with a theater magazine. Never mind that he knows nothing about theater. Vince and the twins help him fake it for the interview. I hope Tom realizes that once he’s in the door, his bare-bones theater knowledge won’t do him any good. But he does get in the door, and is assigned to review Elizabeth’s play. Of course. So…where can one get a job writing for a magazine without any experience and without having to provide any writing samples? I’m asking for a friend.

Elizabeth’s possible new leading ladies all scamper once they find out Vince isn’t in her play after all. Only one is left, Marie, and Liz doesn’t even remember her original audition. She only gives her the role because she’s desperate. This is a bad idea – Marie is horrible. It turns out that she’s Hildy’s sister, and they can’t stand each other. Also, Marie is dating Ted, the dramaturg, and he snuck her name on the callback list. This Ted guy is awful. But Marie is awfuler – so bad that Ken, the lead actor, quits.

Now Elizabeth has no male lead and a horrible female lead. This summer is turning out great! Liz manages to recruit Vince to take over, which Tom isn’t happy about, since he thinks Vince is into Liz. Never mind that Vince is now all over Jessica. Tom needs to calm down. About a lot of things, really. Vince tries to talk Jessica into taking over Marie’s role, but she keeps resisting until a disastrous rehearsal. Hildy and Marie fight about something dumb, Ted fires Hildy, and Marie is given Hildy’s role in Claire’s play. Jessica steps up and takes over Marie’s role opposite Vince.

Then there’s another shakeup. Tom is removed from his assignment covering Elizabeth’s play and replaced with a notoriously mean critic. I cackle. Welcome to the real world, Liz. Of course, we all know her play will get rave reviews and the critic’s heart will grow three sizes, because Elizabeth is a Wakefield. It helps that Gerald and Claire’s plays are horrible, because as mediocre as Liz’s play probably is, it looks like Shakespeare next to their pretentiousness.

So of course, Elizabeth is the new wunderkind of theater, getting summoned to the stage by the audience at the end of the play. Jessica is a star, and someone tells her she’s like Audrey Hepburn. Just what we need, another layer on Jessica’s already humongous ego. Elizabeth and Tom are fine, though they still haven’t slept together, and there’s no mention of whether Jessica and Vince are going to try to have a relationship. (Nick who?)

In the barely there B-plot, Bev, one of Jessica’s friends from the security training, tracks her down in New York. She reveals that she’s an FBI agent and was at the training undercover, trying to bust Pruitt for using recruits for illegal activities. Jessica passes along the information that she found criminal records on some of the recruits. Bev realizes that since some of those records were sealed juvenile files, Pruitt broke the law. That’s it, that’s the whole plot. I think the ghostwriter didn’t know how to stretch out Jess’ storyline over three books.

Thoughts: “Just then a group of hip young teenage girls clacked by in clogs.” Um, no. Not in 1998. Everyone was wearing flip-flops, Skechers, and Steve Maddens.

Jessica tries on “a scarlet silk jumpsuit by Charlotte Spade. The neck and cuffs were trimmed with shocking pink ostrich feathers.” Ewwwww. (Fortunately, she knows it’s awful.)

If Marie and Hildy hate each other, then why did Ted, Marie’s boyfriend, cast Hildy in Elizabeth’s play during the original casting?

And now, for your enjoyment, some lines from Elizabeth’s play:

“In life, there are potholes and pitfalls and deep, dark wells ready to catch you out when you least expect it. But sometimes you need to take the plunge, seek out danger before it takes you by surprise. Sometimes it’s better to jump in than to fall in.”

“In journalism, people always tell you that the truth is malleable, the truth is a hologram, a trick of the eye.”

“With each edit, with each tiny word you add or remove, you change a story and thus create a new truth, as suddenly and surely as a snowball creates an avalance.”

“But in love and life, as opposed to documenting stories, the reality is always unequivocal. Or is it?”

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