Monday, April 25, 2011


THE SECRET LIFE OF DAMIAN SPINELLI -- written by Carolyn Hennesy

For a soap opera tie-in book, The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli may be the best one I've ever read. Often with these sorts of books, I find the characters too unrecognizable from the ones on screen; and even worse, when the author develops a whole new set of characters to incorporate into the story. My biggest gripe with Alexandra Ripley's sequel to Gone With the Wind was about all of the new characters that had nothing to do with the original story. If I am reading a sequel to Gone With the Wind, I expect it to...well, have something to do with Gone With the Wind. The good news is that this book covers a different General Hospital character per chapter; and they are all fairly recognizable through the eyes of Humphrey Bogart...oops, I mean Spinelli.

This leads to the part of the book I found sort of jarring. While there were a few teaser scenes on GH to promote the book where we saw Bradford Anderson doing his best Bogart impression, the fact of the matter is that this is not Spinelli that we are used to. Of course, we have to get used to the idea that this is a fictional retelling of Spinelli's stories through his own imagination and not the real deal. Once you can wrap your head around that concept, it is okay.

Carolyn Hennesy (who plays "Diane" on GH) has a great voice for film noir detective novels. She already has a career as an author with the "Pandora" books, a series for young girls; but if she wishes to delve into another genre, she seems to have a talent for 1940s-style pulp fiction. What I also found impressive was her ear for the crazy Spinelli speak when he is not telling his stories. The images of Diane and Spinelli were very clear in my mind during their passages; she had their rhythmic dialogue spot on.

The Port Charles residents get in all crazy scenarios -- everything from Luke Spencer being held captive by Tracy in a crazy opium den in the local Elizabeth Webber being an exercise Sam and Jason starring in their own insane version of Some Like It Hot. The mysteries themselves are not that terribly complex but it is fun character description, comic dialogue and good spoof.

If you're a GH fan, I'd say it is worth the time and money.

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