Adam Markovitz
July 30, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

After a timely bout of tumor-induced amnesia, a best-selling mystery novelist in L.A. is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and sets out to prove his innocence. Gregg Hurwitz’s snappy prose drives The Crime Writer‘s story at a good clip, but his musings on Hollywood’s underbelly contain more potshots than insights (”Los Angeles, the land of endless promise. And endless failure”), and the plot’s self-referential smugness grows tiresome. Even worse, Hurwitz’s attempt to pass off clichés with an arch attitude (”But, unfortunately, I was my own unreliable narrator”) illustrates what any good crime writer already knows: Confessing doesn’t make you any less guilty. C+

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