Hell is Naked

Fiction - Mystery - General
250 Pages
Reviewed on 03/17/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Chris Fischer for Readers' Favorite

Wow! Just, wow! That's exactly what I thought when I finished reading Hell is Naked by author duo Jean James and Mary James. This story grabbed me from the very start and kept me obsessively reading all the way through to the very end! Follow the story of Warren Roberts, a man used to his role as a tough guy. SWAT team member, all-round macho man, he finds himself in one of the most embarrassing roles of his life, that of an undercover agent as a movie extra. Warren longs to get back to what he loves best, the manly world of real detective work. It takes him only a short time to find the object of his worth, Rainy Wray, although he's not quite sure why anyone would want to find her. It doesn't take him to long to figure out that there's more to Rainy and her situation than meets the eye, and soon he realizes that he just might be fighting for both of their lives. Will they make it through? You'll need to read the book to find out!

I very much enjoyed Hell is Naked. Authors Jean James and Mary James have done a great job in creating characters that their readers will relate to, connect with, and truly come to care about. If that isn't a hallmark of a great author, I'm not sure what is. Their writing style is crisp and full of action, and has a great deal of humor as well. Any reader looking for an exciting, action filled and fun new read of fiction should absolutely give this book a chance. I am so pleased to be able to highly recommend Hell is Naked and look forward to reading more from Jean James and Mary James as soon as I possibly can!

Trudi LoPreto

Warren is a retired policeman, now a private detective, and an unhappy extra actor in Hell Is Naked. Rainy Wray is an extra actress who, with her friends, has witnessed the murder of a friend. Warren is hired to bring Rainy home to her distraught father. Warren finds Rainy and her friends, but they are in trouble and being hunted by Nivs, the gang that is determined to kill the group. Warren, Rainy and her friends are forced to run, hide, and fight to save their lives and find the person who killed their friend. Who is the distraught father, who is the murderer – the director, one of the actors – it could be anyone and you must read this book to find out the unexpected and exciting conclusion.

Hell Is Naked has mystery, suspense, a great cast of characters, and a plot that will keep you guessing right up until the very end of the story. Jean and Mary James have written a winning, tension filled whodunit crammed with all of the necessities that make this a really good book. It was impossible for me not to like each of the characters as I held my breath and cheered them on through their dangerous adventures. There were twists and turns that had me being sure I knew the killer's identity, but I found out in the end I was never right. I was pulled into the story, involved, and sharing in the suspense from beginning to end. Hell Is Naked is a must-read.

Susan Sewell

Hell Is Naked by Jean James and Mary James is a thrilling, fast-paced mystery novel. Warren Roberts is a retired SWAT team member from the Chicago Police Department, but due to an injury, he now works as a private investigator for an old friend. His boss gives him a missing persons case that seems straightforward. His assignment is to locate a missing daughter and her friends. Warren discovers the errant girl and her companions are actors and are frequent extras in movies in Los Angeles. Flying to LA and working undercover as an extra on a film production, he uncovers their identities and contacts his boss. Warren believes he has completed his task. However, things are not as they seem, and his discovery has some unforeseen and dangerous consequences. A determined murderer is now stalking him and his unconventional and free-spirited Boho charges. Warren has to use his expertise to uncover a sinister plot hidden beneath the glamour of Hollywood and prevent another tragedy. Will Warren succeed before they all become the next murder victims?

Hell Is Naked by Jean James and Mary James is a suspenseful, action-packed mystery. Warren Roberts is a compelling and powerful protagonist; his tenacious and formidable character is irresistibly attractive. All of the characters with their unusual dispositions are likable and easy to relate to. The superb storyline has an outstanding and stimulating plot that keeps the reader holding their breath until the shocking conclusion. This is a fabulous fast-paced novel that is hard to put down and will appeal to enthusiasts of suspense and murder mysteries.

Marta Tandori

Hell is Naked is a taut, yet humorous mystery by talented writing duo, Jean and Mary James, that introduces readers to the less-than-glamorous side of movie-making – life as a movie extra. Forty-four-year-old Warren Roberts is a retired Chicago cop and former SWAT whose painfully abused body has forced him to a less physically challenging line of work, doing everything from corporate security to finding runaways. The last place he ever expected to find himself was working as a movie extra on a shoot in Hollywood, but that’s exactly where he ends up when he’s tasked by his good detective friend, Bob Caine, to track down Lorraine “Rainy” Wray and her friends. Twenty-nine-year-old Rainy hasn’t been heard from in quite some time and her frantic father is trying to locate her. With his considerable skill set, it doesn’t take Warren long to track down his target to a movie shoot where Rainy, along with her friends, Tia, Tim and Grady, are all extras. After calling Bob to tell him he’s located Rainy, Warren is skewered by the director for his ineptitude as an extra, only to be befriended by none other than Rainy herself, who generously takes him under his wing for the remainder of the day before inviting him back to their place to save money after she hears his bogus hard-luck story. It also doesn’t take long for Warren to learn of the tragedy that befell Rainy’s friend, Calvin, a promising would-be film maker. Within hours, Warren finds himself in the middle of an ambush – and dodging some pretty heavy fire power. When he confronts Rainy, she confirms that there’s more to her friend’s death than she’s let on. Warren quickly realizes that he’s been set up and that Rainy and her friends aren’t runaways, but the soon-to-be the victims of an assassin’s bullets unless they can figure out who’s out to kill them…

There’s a lot to like about Hell is Naked. Despite the serious nature of the story line, the authors have kept a humorous streak throughout the story, thanks to the large shoes, tall height and never-ending appetite of their male protagonist, Warren Roberts. His enormous height hardly makes him the ideal movie extra where being an extra means to “blend in” to the background. The only saving grace for poor Warren is the never-ending supply of catered food on set which soothes his battered ego. What also gives the story interest is that it delves into the underbelly of movie making – from the perspective of the lowly extra. Rainy and her friends have made a career out of being movie extras, having learned how to work all the angles in order to survive on the meager money they make. It’s their resourcefulness, their frugality and their humility that not only keep the story grounded, but also give it flesh and feeling. Rainy is the proverbial “blithe spirit”, a perfect foil for Warren’s hardened, former cop demeanor. Overall, the dialogue is crisp and the prose sparing – perfect for this type of story. Hell is Naked has mystery, humor, plenty of action and unexpected twists and even some tender moments that’ll have readers lapping up the pages.

Ruffina Oserio

What first drew my attention to Jean James and Mary James' book was the enigmatic title: Hell Is Naked. At once, I thought it would be another allegory that would remind readers of Eden, but it was something even more powerful and captivating, a mystery that will have readers turning the pages without taking stock of the passing time. The story is told in the first person narrative and in a voice that is sharp and clear, combining humor with sharp insights to weave wonderful episodes into the story. The first lines are philosophical and revealing of human nature, and they immediately arouse the reader's curiosity, who would want to see how the words play out in the story: "A friend once told me a woman would run naked into the street to save her baby, but a man would stop to put on his pants first. I didn’t buy it—until now."

A police officer, Warren Roberts, with twenty years of experience, most of them SWAT, gets a role undercover as a movie extra. He is skilled, and would never have considered doing so much for the little pay people get as an extra, but something is about to change all that. Lorraine Wray - or Rainy Wray - is the person he is looking for, a woman whose parents do not know her whereabouts, an actress who might be operating under a different name. It takes very little effort for Warren to find her. But why does he even have to locate her? That is the mystery he has to uncover. Jean and Mary James have done an exceptional job on the plot and the complexity of characters. The writing is excellent, embellished by confident dialogues, well-crafted to read naturally. Hell Is Naked captures the spirit of Hollywood in a brilliant way and readers will be keen to read about what goes on behind the scenes. This is a very interesting story that combines elements of mystery, police investigation, and drama to create a powerful, entertaining piece. It's a page-turner.