The novel is a behind-the-scenes exploration of the twists and turns drama of those involved in the production of a Los Angeles television show entitled The Benjamins.
The central characters include Ann Dalloni, the sixty-two year old head of production. Aging horribly, she is suffering secretly from wet macular degeneration. Married to John Nelligan, an older history professor, she discovers he is having an affair with a gal from the entertainment industry. Angry, desperate and frightened, she commits to doing whatever necessary to maintain power.
Stacey McCreedy is Ann’s thirty-one year old former protégé. They have worked together for seven years and formed the production company, Two Women Walking. Stacey believes she is the mastermind behind the show’s success. Weary of playing the subordinate role, she is determined to eliminate Ann and assume the superior position.
Ann is the “showrunner” but Stacey covets to usurp her. Thrown into this bitter mix, is the twenty-eight year old once-upon-a-time actress, Jenna Kuyt whom Ann has hired as her assistant. Jenna manipulates both Ann and Stacey seeking to advantage both, raise her status and promote her floundering career. In return, Ann and Stacey manipulate her. A trio of toxic characters, for sure.
In addition to imagining a histrionic yet engaging plot, the book highlights Stacey’s complicated relationship with her doctor parents who dismiss her career. She has a convenient sort-of boyfriend and affection for a sick neighbour’s dog. The book also remarks on Jenna’s conniving choice of a partner, Andrew Medway, a make-do rich lawyer she co-ops until a better option emerges. Complicating matters between these emotional corrupt women, Stacey and Jenna become smitten with the same love interest. Doing so succeeds in adding depth to the characters; a clever author.
The Showrunner is an entertaining story concluding with a horrific and in my regards, shocking event. Well-done Kim Moritsugu.