The Extra-Elizabeth Sims

The Extra

Elizabeth Sims

Minotaur, Jun 2009, $24.95

ISBN 9780312377298

To pay for law school, single mom of five-year-old Petey, Rita Farmer has been accepting minor acting roles.  Currently she is on location as an extra wearing a police uniform.  During a break in filming, while still in costume, Rita accidentally frightens off two muggers attacking a black boy as they assume she is the law.

The intended victim turns out to be Kip Cubitt, the grandson of well-respected Amaryllis “Iron Angel” Cubitt, who founded the homeless ABC Mission in South Central Los Angeles.  Not long after the incident, someone in a drive-by shoots a cop who looked extremely similar to Rita.  When she goes to the Cubitt mission to see if she can find out what is going on before she becomes the next corpse, Rita concludes Dale the Whale, a drug-pin, has something on the the usually energetic Amaryllis that has her tied in knots.  With the lmited help of her lover, private investigator George Rowe, whose case is in Canada, and eluding her born to emote sister, Rita goes undercover in the role of her life as a street person in order to learn what sinister happenings is occurring at the mission.

Though no Lillian Byrd, Rita Farmer’s second amateur sleuth case (see THE ACTRESS) is an entertaining investigative tale due to the strong support cast as much as the heroine.  The story line is fast-paced though a bit thin except when Rita goes easy street as a homeless person in smelly discards.  Overall THE EXTRA is an engaging thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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