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The Poser

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It's Oscar night in Hollywood, and after years of climbing the entertainment ladder, media darling Meredith Johansen has taken home a gold statue. Across town, Detective Pat Norelli is trying to break through her own glass ceiling in the LAPD.

Johansen and Norelli's paths collide when Johansen is found dead in her Bel Air home the next morning. With a note but no clues, LAPD rule it a suicide, but Norelli thinks murder and will put her job on the line to prove it.

When several key suspects turn up dead, Norelli and partner Detective Stuart Brown find themselves in an endless series of lies and questionable behavior.

Soon they discover more dead bodies than leads, and Norelli gets too close, falling into the trap of a pathological killer.

402 pages, Paperback

First published January 11, 2010

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David Temple

9 books7 followers

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5 stars
28 (40%)
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26 (37%)
3 stars
8 (11%)
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5 (7%)
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2 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews
Profile Image for Matt.
3,821 reviews12.8k followers
June 7, 2021

The thrill of discovering a new author is heightened when the writing and story make for an electrifying read. David Temple has done just that with this series debut, putting a gritty detective in the middle of a complex murder case. LAPD Detective Patricia ‘Pat’ Norelli is used to the bright lights, having grown up in the shadow of her father, a legal legend. However, when he admits that there are some troubles that could cost him everything, Norelli is keen to help. That will have to wait, as a television star is found dead at her home, an apparent suicide that does not present entirely as it should. With the killer out there, Norelli and her partner will have to dig through the clues and find out who is targeting people and posing them off as suicidal castoffs. Temple does well to set the scene with this novel, offering up a decent procedural in the heart of Hollywood.

Detective Pat Norelli has never been afraid of the limelight, though she’s rarely seen it herself, as her father has hogged it for a long time. Once a lawyer and now a judge, the elder Norelli’s time coming to an end and with retirement close at hand. It appears someone has high hopes of extinguishing the justice early, unless he helps fix a little criminal problem. Detective Norelli is understandably worried, but unable to focus too much of her attention on it just yet.

When television star, Meredith Johansen turns up dead in her bedroom, having slit her throat and left a suicide note, the community is abuzz. However, when Norelli and her partner, Brown, arrive at the scene, something does not ring entirely true. The angle and depth of the cut lead Norelli and Brown to wonder if this was staged, though a motive is not entirely clear.

Working all the angles at their disposal, Norelli and Brown soon discover that the victim’s fame was not entirely tied to her television career, but that she had a secret life away from the small screen. Her escapades with many—men and women alike—may have created a significant amount of jealousy for some, though could it have been enough to kill? Add to that, her current flame comes off as being quite cocky, in all senses of the word.

While Norelli works to fit the pieces together, she is struggling with things in her personal life. A recommendation from her superior to see a popular therapist seems to help, as Norelli is soon able to sift through much of the personal detritus she has piling up. The man seems well respected, having a long list of top clients, as though that is the tell-tale sign of success. Still, there’s something that’s said in sessions that offers Norelli some insight into her case at just the right moment.

With more bodies appearing in staged suicide poses, Norelli begins to wonder if the killer has a fixation that cannot be quenched. She races to connect the dots, worried that if she lags too much, the killer will slip through her fingers. It’s only when the target turns on her that Norelli realises just how complex the web is and how she’s sure to get trapped unless she can remain one step ahead.

David Temple provides the reader with a decent story here, offering all the elements of a strong police procedural. He uses these elements to his advantage and the reader is swept into a well-crafted piece that moves along, while adding the element of surprise at various points. While the series is only getting started, I have high hopes for Temple and those within the pages of this collection. With a second novel on the horizon, one can only hope that there is more action of this caliber to come.

Pat Norelli proves to be a great protagonist in this piece, offering up a mix of strong crime fighting abilities with the urge to create her own narrative. Having lived in the shadow of her successful father, she seeks to stand alone whenever possible, without forgetting her roots. The grit and determination found within the piece helps to shape her, balanced effectively with the personal side Norelli seeks not to hide, through her familial ties and playing the role of a mother to a daughter who is just trying to find her way. There is still a great deal about the Norelli character that remains a mystery, something that I hope Temple expands upon in the coming novels.

With any series debut, there are a number of characters in a supporting role that catch my eye, some of whom I hope to see enter further novels, while others were fine as one-offs. Temple does well to create these individuals to complement Norelli, though it is hard to tell how they will effectively be utilised in other pieces. The good-bad balance is surely there in this story, keeping the reader connected to a number of characters for a variety of reasons, though none leapt out at me as being ‘must haves’ for the next piece, save perhaps, Stuart Brown, Norelli’s partner and a new father himself.

David Temple does well in developing this story. The genre is surely supersaturated with stories and characters trying to make the streets safer in a detective role. Los Angeles itself is full of gumshoes and homicide teams, scouring the streets for killers and those who would do harm. While there was nothing earth shattering about Pat Norelli, her presence was well presented and left me wanting to know a little more. Short, swift chapters pushed the story forward and left me wanting a little more, while the narrative’s momentum kept the story clipping along. The book utilised some decent twists throughout to keep the reader guessing and while it would not keep me up well into the night, the story was entertaining, something I needed at that point in time. I am definitely off to get the second novel to see what awaits Norelli and the handful of others who are surely a part of this next adventure.

Kudos, Mr. Temple, for a great series debut. Let’s see what else you have to entertain readers with the next in this series.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
1,959 reviews24 followers
July 26, 2020
When the host of a TV gossip show winds up dead in her bed on Oscar night, Detective Pat Norelli and her team are there to piece together the story. In hunting the killer, she'll face intrigue, blackmail, sex, alcohol and violence ... and that's just in her personal live.
I loved this Hollywood crime thriller. It's chock full of spoiled, rich, Hollywood stars and wannabes who'll do anything to get what they want . Norelli is a tough as nails investigator who's not afraid to ruffle a few feathers and stir up the muck to find her killer -with all her flaws and insecurities, she's a character it's hard not to like .
This story offers painstaking police work that hearkens back to the best episodes of the TV cop shows of the past, a diabolical killer you won't suspect, a supporting cast that quickly reveal the tarnish underneath the tinsel town glitz and action that'll have you on the edge of your seat and frantically turning the pages to get to the shocking ending.
A rollicking good read.
Profile Image for TJ Brooks.
7 reviews
July 26, 2020
Intricate plot with enough twists to entertain the more jaded reader. Some characters are fairly normal, the rest are bizarre enough for the Hollywood setting to both amuse and repel. First work of Temple's I have read, recommend the read.
10.5k reviews124 followers
July 26, 2020
An amazing first book by a new writer for me. A special a Hollywood night and a murder. Plenty of excitement for one story. Thoroughly enjoyable.
746 reviews1 follower
October 14, 2020
The Dark Side

Most people are aware that the glitz and glamour of Hollywood also has a dark side made up of those who never quite make it big, but continue to exist on the fringes. For me, this story tells of the depths some will sink in a constant battle to be recognized. Thus, I find this story to have a plot that explores the depths some will sink to strive for stardom. However, I do not believe a therapist, no matter how skilled, can exercise the kind of mind control evidenced by Dr. Terrel. Because many characters were pretty much addicted to drugs, their actions were governed by that. I was disappointed that a judge of 40 years was willing to go to others to help free Nick or lessen his sentence to save himself and his family. Witness protection? FBI guards? I am also less than thrilled that Patty continues to fight an attraction to a serial murderer. Perhaps the sequel will address these concerns.
Profile Image for Lynda Walls.
35 reviews45 followers
July 22, 2020
Great story, great characters, freaky characters, freaky twists... I love this book! Haven't checked, hope there's a sequel!
Profile Image for B E.
631 reviews2 followers
August 13, 2020
This book was a real roller coaster ride. Every time I thought I knew who the murderer was I was wrong. The characters in this book were riveting and complex. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but this is a very good story. One you need to read with an open mind and not get caught up on false clues. Definitely recommend reading this book to other thriller fans. Very well written.
Profile Image for John Abrahamson.
Author 6 books14 followers
June 14, 2020
David's best work. Most polished in every sense of the word. He toned down some of the more graphic content in his writing, but the story was entertaining and worth a read. I liked that this was his first novel with a female lead.
Profile Image for Sarah Proulx.
181 reviews24 followers
February 18, 2021
I was intrigued almost immediately with The Poser by David Temple. I don’t read many ARC ebooks because a lot of them just don’t catch my interest and I spend more time scrolling through descriptions than actually picking out books. However, the description for this book pulled me in right away, and then the book took me on an unexpected ride. I loved the duel points of view between the strong-willed, hard working cop and the mysterious and creepy killer. David Temple's writing from the killer's point of view literally gave me the creeps, it was so thought out and detailed in just the right ways that it gave you everything you would expect from inside a psychopath's mind. I liked the way the plot twists and turns, giving you clues and then spinning the story in a whole different direction. The characters were all very well thought out, each had their own backstory and place in the world Temple created. I was also really surprised by the deep dive into Hollywood behind closed doors that Temple creates. I wasn't expecting a kinky behind closed doors sex ring to be the forefront of Norelli's investigation, but it did add a sort of unexpected twist to the plot.

I did have some issues with the character Pat Norelli. It was just so stereotypical. I almost hated her character because she was trying too hard. She was the brow beating, tough guy all the time, and her fascination with 80s rock and muscle cars made her into that stereotypical “butch” cop. Add to that the emotional attachment issues, the marriage that fell apart, the drinking habit, I was just so over the cliche that was Norelli. It wasn't until you get further into the book that you start to see there is more going on with her character than what meets the eye, but you never really get the full story, which then left me feeling slighted. I feel like there is so much more to this character, but I’m not sure if she is meant to be the cliche stereotype or if there is dramatic pause taking place ramping up for the next book in the series, which is due out in the not too far future. I’ll be interested in seeing where her story goes.

There were a lot of story arcs taking place at one time in this book, which slightly took away from the main story. There were a few times where I was super confused as to why they were included (other than knowing about an upcoming sequel from the author, and wondering if it was going to be a launch point for a later storyline). Some of the smaller arcs ended up being giveaways to the plot, and some of the smaller, off shoot story arcs seemed to come out of left field. There would be random chapters devoted to characters points of view that really didn't make sense or fit in with the main story arc. The competing storylines made parts of the book choppy and confusing, but the book is also written in a way that makes it play out like a movie. There are sections where you can almost see the screen fade to blakc between scenes, and a few of the random story arcs play out like a cliffhanger, waiting until later to see what comes next.

Overall though, I was impressed with this story. I loved the dynamic between Norelli and her partner, the easy ebb and flow of detective work and family life balancing each other out. The story itself kept me guessing right up until the end, and even then I was still shocked. There were several times when I thought I had figured the case out only to be surprised with another
plot twist. And that ending! All I can say was I was incredibly shocked and surprised. It was a quick read, and a page turner, which prompted me to give it 4 stars. Thank you to Reedsy Discovery for allowing me to read an ARC of The Poser, I can't wait to see what Temple comes up with next.
5 reviews
September 4, 2020
Actually not a bad story line (which kept me reading)but confusing ending.
The number of glaring errors in grammar and context was appalling...obviously went through spellcheck but not proofread carefully.
Profile Image for Paula Mathis.
6 reviews2 followers
September 5, 2020
This 1 star is based on reading no more than 10% of the book.....it was that awful. Writing was choppy and no background given. It started off promising but devolved. Not sure if it's self published but seems an editor was missing. I DNF the book.
Profile Image for Jamaika.
10 reviews
July 23, 2023
Mystery & Adventure

This was my first read by David Temple. I loved it!! This book definitely kept my interest. I couldn’t put it down. Kept me guessing as to the killer until almost the end when the killer was determined. Highly recommend this book for mystery lovers.
2 reviews
October 24, 2020
Really good read. Right level of detail, without being stuck in the details, lots of intrigue along the path to uncovering the true killer and the warped mind of a psychopath. Highly recommend.
297 reviews1 follower
December 12, 2021
A real who dun it thought it was one person then you realise you have chosen the wrong character look forward to reading THE IMPOSTER
Profile Image for Kristen Tsetsi.
Author 5 books40 followers
April 11, 2022
Fun, fast-moving, and with non-stock characters. Also a delightful blend of mystery/suspense and naturally occurring (vs. forced) humor.
Profile Image for Claudete Takahashi.
1,734 reviews23 followers
July 31, 2020
A most interesting reading! The Poser has a well knit plot with quite a few twists and turns that make the reader stay glued to the book till the end. There´s a lot of action, mind games, mystery and crime, and underlying it all there´s a strong friendship and family relationships. The main character, the detective Patricia, is strong willed, persistent, and good (or bad?) humoured and her partnership with Stuart make the duo lively, laughable and good at what they do. Hopefully there will be another book on these two characters as are they are too good together to be forgotten.
I received a free copy from the authour/Bookfunnel and this is my honest review.
Profile Image for Claudete Takahashi.
1,734 reviews23 followers
August 1, 2020
A most interesting reading! The Poser has a well knit plot with quite a few twists and turns that make the reader stay glued to the book till the end. There´s a lot of action, mind games, mystery and crime, and underlying it all there´s a strong friendship and family relationships. The main character, the detective Pat Norelli, is strong willed, persistent, and good (or bad?) humoured and her partnership with Stuart make the duo lively, laughable and good at what they do. Hopefully there will be another book on these two characters as are they are too good together to be forgotten.
I received a free copy from the author/Bookfunnel and this is my honest review.
Profile Image for Angela Carter.
234 reviews12 followers
August 2, 2020
Detective Norelli has a big case to solve and prove herself too. When twist thrown in your left guessing will she figure everything out in time. I was given an ARC of this and volunteered to review it.
422 reviews22 followers
July 28, 2020
Set in Hollywood The Poser takes the reader on journey into the high life of sex, drugs and rock & roll .with Detectives Norelli and Brown called in to solve the murders when bodies of celebrities begin to appear. There are lots of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged and guessing and great to find a female leading the investigation. The content is graphic in places with modern sex scenes and disturbing suicide/murder ideas so I would recommend this book as suitable for adults. I felt I got to know the main characters very well author David Temple was able to supply enough background information to make this happen . Interesting to find in amongst a book, which is basically a crime novel, Temple brings in a new life, a baby is born and the detective has to take maternity leave . A nice human touch in the middle of mayhem.
I enjoyed this book which kept me guessing until I was well through the book ,and I thank David Temple for the opportunity to read and review an e copy
Profile Image for Lynn Wendland.
47 reviews1 follower
July 29, 2020
What a great book. This has twists and turns. You don't see who had done the deed until the end. I can't wait to read more by David Temple.
Profile Image for Aviar Savijon.
1,155 reviews16 followers
July 28, 2020
An Outstanding work of fiction, crime drama, and detective tales! This book shows all the elements of investigative pursuits and motives to find the true Killer. I loved it!!!!
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews

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