It's up, up, and away with sleuth Regan Reilly -- in a lively new caper from beloved New York Times bestselling author Carol Higgins Clark.
L.A.-based private detective Regan Reilly flies to Las Vegas -- the mythic city of cash and flash, glamour and kitsch -- to help an old school chum, Danny Madley. Danny is producing the pilot of a reality TV show, Love Above Sea Level. The show features three couples who all have experienced the proverbial Seven Year Itch and are now vying for the chance to renew their wedding vows and win one million dollars. But someone is trying to sabotage the show before Danny can shoot the final scene at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Danny's show is in competition with the sitcom Take Me Higher for a coveted permanent slot on Hot Air Cable, also known as the Balloon Channel. Both shows involve hot air ballooning, and both have casts of characters who are more than capable of disrupting production of Love Above Sea Level. Regan's job is to find out who is making trouble and why.
Is the culprit one of the contestants on Love Above Sea Level? Could it be the advice columnists Danny has hired -- Aunt Agony and Uncle Heartburn -- who are there to help rekindle the sparks between the husbands and wives? Is it Danny's right-hand man, Victor, a local Vegas boy Danny met while gambling? Or his cameraman Sam, who would much rather be surfing than working? Is it Bubbles Ferndale, producer of the sitcom, who is desperate to make her show the one that wins the competition? Is it Danny's ex-girlfriend, the Vegas showgirl Honey? Or her friend Lucille, a dealer in one of the casinos? Could local entrepreneur Roscoe Parker, the owner of the Balloon Channel and mastermind behind the TV competitions, be the source of all Danny's problems? There is no shortage of suspects and no shortage of mishaps.
From their base in the Fuzzy Dice Hotel, a decidedly third-rate establishment, Regan tries to help Danny keep his production on an even keel. Danny's well-meaning, meddlesome parents complicate matters. Jealousy among the Love Above Sea Level contestants escalates. Mysterious, inexplicable events keep occurring. Regan is determined to keep Danny's show on schedule, and she'll do whatever it takes -- on land and in the air!
Popped is a funny, fast-paced jaunt that takes readers from the fancy Vegas casinos to the run-down hotels off the Strip, from the grounds of the hot air balloon fields up into the heavens as the balloons fly over the arid Southwest.
Popped is written with Clark's expert light touch and filled with the richly drawn, quirky characters so relished by her fans. As Nelson DeMille says, "Clark keeps her readers entranced and entertained from cover to cover."
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from Popped by Carol Higgins Clark
Regan Reilly sat down at the scarred oak desk in her cozy office on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Developers were dying to take a wrecking ball to the ancient structure, but so far the building managed to remain standing, which made Regan very happy. A private investigator who worked alone, Regan loved everything about her work, except the fact that it kept her three thousand miles from her boyfriend of ten months, Jack Reilly. Jack was the head of the major case squad in New York City. He was coming out to spend the weekend with her, but that was still four more days away.
Monday mornings, Regan thought, as she took a sip of coffee. They're the pits even if you like your job. There's just something about them. For one thing, they certainly put a damper on Sunday nights. I shouldn't complain, though, Regan mused. This Monday morning brings me one day closer to seeing Jack.
The quiet of the early October morning was broken by the ring of the phone.
"Wow. Am I talking to Regan Reilly after all these years " a male voice asked.
"You're talking to Regan Reilly," she assured the caller. "Who's this "
"You don't remember me "
Here we go, Regan thought. It's not even nine o'clock on a Monday morning, and the weirdos are already on the horn. Don't these people ever give it a rest "I have no idea who you are," Regan answered simply as she turned on her computer.
"I'll give you three guesses. But only three."
All this before my first cup of coffee, Regan thought. "Why don't you call back later," she suggested. "I'm sure you'll have your identity figured out by then. Bye." She started to put down the phone when she heard a shout from the other end.
"Wait! Regan, it's Danny Madley. The tree boy!"
Regan's hand froze in midair. Her mind raced back in time. The tree boy. No, it couldn't be. She pulled the phone back to her ear. "Tree Boy "
"Yes!" he replied triumphantly.