Crime and Deception in The Theatre Michael Dion is an actor, not a detective, but when Amanda, an attractive actress, asks him to help her find Kyle, her friend's rebellious son, how can he refuse? The gig turns out to be much more than Michael had bargained for. Kyle has fallen into the clutches of small-time drug dealers. Egged on by Amanda, Michael bluffs and blusters his way to secure the boy's release. The thugs overreact, putting Michael's life at risk until his fellow actors and special effects artists come to his rescue.
Canadian writer Gerry Fostaty’s first novel is a delight from start to finish. Fostaty takes up the eminently reasonable but hitherto underused concept that the acting profession is excellent training for undercover police work. An acting troupe improvises their way through street theatre of the life-and-death variety, using their acting experience, stage props, and street smarts to outwit a drug gang that has kidnapped the son of a friend.
What makes the novel especially engaging is its essentially amateur nature and its proximity to the lives we lead now. The details of searching for teens through internet web links are intriguing: Twitter feeds, Facebook profiles and the tendency to geotag locations could ultimately unravel our most ambitious plans. Easily available online data is something the police, ramped up as they are for bigger fry, are unlikely to use. They would go at the problem with more force, but less cunning.
The “bad boy” nature of the kidnapped teen is all too familiar. Son of a Parliament member on the verge of reelection, he acts out his resentment at his lack of parental attention by involving himself in illegal drugs, which means the police are not welcome participants in the search. Our leading man, Michael, begins a half-hearted and desultory web search for information about the kidnapped boy to ingratiate himself with an attractive actress in his troupe. That initial foray actually yields clues which eventually turn the hunt for the missing boy into a major production.
The willing suspension of disbelief is critical in stage productions, and likewise with this wonderful series. This is street theatre of the best sort. Set during the Fall election and theatre season in Toronto, this art is close to home in all ways. Highly recommended for a completely refreshing change of pace.
Fostaty reached out and asked that I read through his recent publication, offering an honest review, which is how STAGE BUSINESS found its way into my possession. Michael Dion is not a detective, nor does he play one on television (or on stage, for that matter). In trying to curry favour with a fellow actress during a rehearsal, Michael volunteers to help Amanda locate a friend's son. Seventeen year-old Kyle stormed off after an argument with his mom and failed to return the next morning. Amanda and Michael agree to do all they can to locate him and bring him back home, though neither has much experience in the sleuthing department. Michael pokes around some leads and discovers that Kyle may have been involved in Toronto's rave scene, peddling drugs to attendees. Kyle gets caught up in a power struggle and is taken captive by a number of unsavoury characters, whose identities come to light only after Michael crossing their paths at a rave. Michael and Amanda work with a closely-knit group to stage a transfer in order to return Kyle to his family. What begins as a covert operation soon spills over into the public sphere, leaving Michael holding the bag and the authorities poking around. Fostaty offers up some interesting social commentary about the world of acting and life in Canada's largest city. An interesting first novel, leaving much room for growth.
When first asked to read this novel, I was unsure what to expect. I promised to give it a try and see what I thought, as I have with a number of previous author-led queries. While the story has a solid foundation and premise, I found it a little wordy and somewhat tangential at times. Perhaps I am too inundated by popular fiction or NYT bestselling authors, but I found myself giving the proverbial hand-roll on occasion and skimming paragraphs to get to the heart of the story. While set in Toronto, the story does not utilise its locale to the full extent possible. I will not refer to other well-grounded Canadian authors who have mastered Toronto or other places to their advantage, but I would have liked a little more focus on the city, rather than dropping street names. The characters had some development, but, again, I found myself flitting between interest in them and wanting to see how they fit into the larger story. A decent first attempt in the publication world and I could see myself trying another novel, if only to determine how he's grown.
Decent work, Mr. Fostaty. Thanks for reaching out and I hope to see you develop your craft in the coming years.
After a riveting personal account of Canadian tragedy, Fostaty makes his foray into fiction with the same attention to detail. Stage Business is a great mystery novel with an intriguing cast of unique characters to keep you enthralled.
A quick read and light thriller focusing on actor Michael Dion who is wiling to do anything to grab the attention of co-star Amanda. When one day troubled about her friend Karen missing son, Michael volunteers to be of help and much to his surprise it is accepted by Amanda.
Michael soon finds himself in the world of raves and drug dealing, neither of which he had any knowledge of prior to this adventure. With his involvement snowballing he soon finds that he has involved acting friend Nigel, a distant friend of Kyle's Bid as well as the attractive Amanda and Kyle's Mother Karen.
Michael found himself beat up, kidnapped and working impromptu to get out of his predicaments. Using combined stage experiences, the team showcase their skills of the stage by utilizing props and acting to find and free the spoiled Kyle.
Stage Business will leave you chuckling and at the edge of your seat. This is a book that begs for a continuation of Michaels adventures and leaves the door open for it.
I found it to be a completely enjoyable book and like the idea of finding my self chuckling throughout. I particularly loved the surprise ending. If there is a second book I will be eagerly waiting for it.
Stage Business is a novel set in the theatre world of Toronto. Michael Dion, an actor preparing for a new play, is drawn into a dangerous set of circumstances when he attempts to impress an attractive co-worker by helping the son of a friend in need. This is Fostaty’s first novel and he draws from his years of personal experience in the Toronto theatre scene. His quirky cast of characters are instantly recognizable by anyone who has spent anytime at all backstage in Canadian theatres. The audience for this book is not just made up of actors and ex-actors; anyone who enjoys a tightly plotted, yet light spirited crime novel will enjoy this tale. While Fostaty deals with dark plot elements, his natural ebullience keeps the story moving well. Highly recommended.
This book was unlike anything I've read before in that the characters are stage actors playing detectives in order to solve a case on their own without involving police (due to specific reasons that are laid out over the course of the story). It makes total sense now, but I never would've thought that undercover police work is basically just acting, so who better than actual actors to do the work? It's such an interesting story, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a little mystery and detective stories with a bit of a twist on the usual.
Gerry Fostaty's STAGE BUSINESS is an easy, pleasurable read loaded with edge-of-your seat action and brilliant doses of wit and humor.The plot, wrapped in the clothing of the theater and its cast of characters, takes us on a thrilling ride into the world of small-time drug dealers, raves and gangs in Toronto.
During the last angst-filled days of a play rehearsal, we are treated to actor Michael Dion's first-person account as he is lured by his lust for fellow actor Amanda into helping her find Kyle--the missing 17 year-old son of her friend. Through Kyle's Facebook friends, Michael is led to the Dragon Lady, otherwise known as Megan. Megan is a "Trustafarian"--Bohemian trust-fund brat, who is a symbol of what Fostaty sees as the current generation of self-centered 20 somethings who crave praise but without having to do the work to warrant it.
Megan directs Michael and Amanda to the site of a rave where Kyle had been abducted by The Pack Boys for dealing drugs in their territory. It is only Michael's continued high hopes of winning over Amanda's affections that quell his increasing nervousness as he is drawn deeper into Kyle's world and investigates his disappearance.
In his theater life, Michael still has to get off book--memorize his lines, which he does with the help of his friend and co-star Nigel. It is Nigel, along with Bid the stage manager and Tamara the costumer who are to play important roles in the drama developing off stage in the real world. Along with Michael and Amanda, Nigel, Bid and Tamara stage a real-life drama to rescue Kyle. The rescue uses all the actors' skills while utilizing the props and special effects of a theater production. One is distinctly left with the feeling that if you are in a serious scrape, a theater company is exactly what you need backing you up.
The story would perhaps have benefited from some of the action scenes being lengthened. On rare occasions, the novel becomes pedantic, dwelling too much on the details of the theater and Fostaty's social commentary. The pace quickly picks up, however.
STAGE BUSINESS succeeds in creating enough tension with twists and turns to keep the reader uncertain as to the outcome. It also delivers a surprise in Michael's quest for love. As a bonus, Fostaty's background as an actor provides genuine insight into the theater world. The novel works, the characters are believable and the plot rings true. STAGE BUSINESS is a worthy first novel. It is easy to envision meeting some of the characters again should Fostaty opt to create a series.
Stage Business is Canadian author Gerry Fostaty’s debut novel. Written in British (UK) English, it is a well-crafted mystery. The story takes place in the city of Toronto where the cast and crew of a theater company use their talents to rescue a kidnapped kid and to thwart the efforts of the gang that holds him captive.
The kidnapped kid is Kyle, the seventeen-year-old son of Karen and Rob Eaton. Karen is the best friend of Amanda Clarke. Amanda is an actress and the secret crush of Michael Dion, an actor in the same play as Amanda. Michael is pals with Nigel Holmes, a British-born actor. Elizabeth Stackhouse, also known as Bid, is their stage manager.
When Karen tells Amanda that Kyle is missing, this unlikely group, led by Michael, bands together to locate and rescue Kyle. Locating him proves to be the easy part. It will take all of their theatrical skills to rescue Kyle without any of them becoming victims themselves.
I particularly liked the micro-stories incorporated into the novel, especially the one about the milk and the soccer audition.
All mysteries fall somewhere on the vast mystery spectrum. Stage Business with its pleasing but somewhat implausible plot makes this novel lean towards the cozy mystery more than the amateur sleuth spectrum. But it has elements of both.
Quirky characters give this mystery its momentum. The dialogue is, at times, sharp and funny. My only complaint: What was the play they were rehearsing? I know it isn’t germane, but inquiring minds (like mine) like to know these details.
Stage Business is a clean, quick read. Entertaining and enjoyable. Give it a read. 3 stars
HKelleyB is an editor, proofreader, and book reviewer. This honest review is given in exchange for a free copy of this e-book.
Michael Dion is a stage actor involved with a small theater company preparing for a new performance. He wants desperately to attract and romance Amanda, an ambitious and and budding star. This leads him into a crazy sequence of happenstances trying to rescue Kyle, the teenage son of Amanda's friend. Kyle has fallen into the bad graces of a ruthless drug gang who have kidnapped him. After some frightening challenges, Michael together with his friends who are fellow actors, use they're stage smarts and clever tricks to outwit the bad guys and rescue the teen.
This story is a fun romp. Michael's friends are interesting and believable. There is a good mix of characters with easy to follow dialog. I especially liked Michael's good friend, Nigel. He is a shrewd, attractive and well-developed personality who could probably hold his own in another novel. The story unfolds with tight writing and good pacing, and at the same time is filled with fascinating backstage theatrical information. I learned quite a bit of new information about production and props used in the theater, such as painting the stage floor black at the end of the performance run.
The writing is tight and polished using fun similes such as "...it was rather like trying to avoid a Labrador Retriever when you had a pocketful of cookies." I also liked the infusion of Twitter and geocaching in the story. Of course these young characters are well-versed in social media, so It is totally believable and adds to their credibility.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It took me back to familiar places in Toronto where I grew up, and it is clear the author knows the stage business, which is the backdrop to a very human story. I learned a lot about acting and actors, and learning is one of the things I look for in a book. The other is to be excited, even titillated. While STAGE BUSINESS is not quite thriller, not quite mystery, it certainly has elements of both, and the suspense is kept up throughout. The characters are believable and well-portrayed. A good read.
This book takes place in the heart of Toronto, On. Canada.
An actor has all of his skills put to the test when attempting to locate and rescue another person's son all because he is crushing on the female lead in the play his has been cast in. It was interesting how the story twisted the main character “Michael” out of his routine acting and into under cover work, leaving the police behind, but bringing all of his fellow acting friends with him. I can only say that you need to read it for yourself to know how good it really is.
This was a very interesting book for me. I liked the story line and how the actors became engaged in the undercover police work. This book kept me wanting more from the characters and the adventure but once the story got moving I found I wanted to know what was going to happen next. *I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
This was a fun read. It's not a genre that I usually read -- I'd call it an "amateur sleuth" mystery with a hint of "noir fiction" -- so I'm not quite sure how to rate it ... but I enjoyed following the intricate details of a quirky plot with equally quirky characters, and seeing a small glimpse of the Toronto theatre scene.