The Australian Women's Weekly - - Contents - By Caro­line Over­ing­ton, HarperCollins

the lat­est books and a Great Read from Caro­line Over­ing­ton

In Caro­line Over­ing­ton’s bril­liantly pacey new thriller we are kneedeep in the very fa­mil­iar demi-monde of break­fast TV and the tabloid hys­te­ria that sur­rounds its over­paid stars. And while her char­ac­ters are not ex­actly

Lisa Wilkin­son, Sam Army­tage, Ge­orgie Gard­ner, Karl Ste­fanovic, Kerri-Anne Ken­ner­ley et al, there’s an el­e­ment of all of them in there. This is a me­dia bub­ble the au­thor clearly knows in­ti­mately and the in­tri­cate de­tails of life be­hind the cam­eras – the snip­ing, the stalk­ers, the pa­parazzi, the pun­ish­ing early morn­ings, the fic­ti­tious tabloid me­dia tales, the cal­lous so­ciopaths who run the net­works and their ruth­less pur­suit of rat­ings – are what make this novel sing.

Emma Card­well is a ha­rassed mum of three and the ap­proach­able an­chor of Stel­lar Net­work’s break­fast TV show

Cuppa. In the past year, fol­low­ing re­trench­ment, Emma’s hubby, hand­some Texan Bran­don, has mor­phed into stay-at-home dad, dab­bling in the stock mar­ket from his do­mes­tic man cave with am­ple help with the kids from nanny Lena. Mean­while, Emma has seen her pre­vi­ously top-rat­ing show pum­melled into sec­ond place by ri­val net­work’s breezy pre­tender Brew, with its perky host, the for­mer re­al­ity TV show star Cassie Clay.

The novel opens with a lost tod­dler in a shop­ping cen­tre and very quickly we re­alise this tod­dler is Emma’s lit­tle girl, Fox-Piper – one of the au­thor’s many tongue-in-cheek and of­ten laugh-out­loud jabs at the fatu­ous uni­verse th­ese celebri­ties in­habit. Fox ap­pears to have been ab­ducted from her day care cen­tre and the cir­cus that en­sues sparks a grip­ping roller-coaster ride with gutsy ironic twists. The im­me­di­acy of the writ­ing prob­a­bly has a lot to do with Caro­line’s plot ap­proach, strap­ping in for the ride as she writes. “I knew that Emma would turn up at the child care cen­tre and her daugh­ter would not be there. But I didn’t know any­thing else,” she tells The Weekly. “I didn’t know whether she’d been taken; whether some­thing had hap­pened to her and they were try­ing to cover it up; whether it was peo­ple at child care, or from TV world, or from Emma’s own fam­ily ... I just let it all come pour­ing out.”

The re­sult is fun and thrilling, but also presents a bit­ingly satir­i­cal win­dow on a lost cos­mos.

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