Dayna Anderson

Created by by Kellye Garrett

It‘s certainly not the first time someone has imagined a former celebrity becoming a private eye or amateur sleuth, but Kellye Garrett’s light-hearted novels about “semi-retired” actress DAYNA ANDERSON may be the funniest.

Although, truth be told, Dayna wasn’t exactly as big a shot she thinks she was — she was simply the “Don’t think so, boo” in a series of television commercials for Chubby’s Chicken for two years. So she’s well known, although not exactly Beyoncé. Still, she was pulling in some good bread back then, until corporate decided to go “in a different direction.” A year and a half and several pounds later (“a lifetime and an almost-repossessed Lexus ago,” according to Dayna), all the “mega-broke, semi famous” wants to do is help her parents keep their house.

Fortunately for her (if not its victim) she’s the witness to a deadly hit-and-run, and visions of a fifteen grand reward for information start dancing in her head. But her plans to get back on Easy Street go awry, and Dayna finds herself conducting her own full-on investigation, discovering in the course of it that she has a knack for detective work. And… she kinda gets a kick out of it.

So instead of slinking back to Georgia, where she came from, she decides to stick around Hollywood and become a private investigator. Problem is, Dayna’s enthusiasm is bigger than her knack, with some entertaining and amusing results, rather reminiscent of Janet Evonovich’s Stephanie Plum or Lisa Lutz’s Spellman Files. It helps that the all-too-human Dayna is so gosh-darn likable and relatable, caught between her yearning for a chili-cheeseburger (the girl does love to eat) and the constant struggle with her weight (she confesses that she’s “not big in any state to vote Republican, but in LA, I might as well as well have been fused to a couch and needing a forklift to pick me up”). She also has a propensity for speaking out at inappropriate times. She doesn’t curse, though.

So far there have been three books in the series, with each book sporting the word “Hollywood” in the title, each tracking the continuing development of Dayna as she moves from reward-hungry amateur sleuth to rookie P.I. to full-fledged gumshoe. Hollywood Homicide (2017), which kicked off the series, was particularly well received, winning the 2018 Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Noveland a Lefty Award Winner.

The author, according to her bio, spent eight years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for Cold Case, and a former magazine editor. She holds a BS in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC. She currently works for a leading media company and brainstorms ways to commit murder for her novels.


  • “Garrett’s hilarious new mystery… gets Hollywood so right it hurts.”
    — Jerrilyn Farmer
  • “[A] winning first novel and series launch… Garrett writes with humor and insight about the Hollywood scene. Readers will look forward to Day’s further adventures.”
    Publishers Weekly on Hollywood Homicide (starred review)
  • “Veteran TV writer Garrett uses her Cold Case experience to inform her debut, which sets up more than one charming character and isn’t afraid to go cynical on all things LA.”
    — Kirkus Reviews on Hollywood Homicide
  • “Fun, smart, endearingly flawed, and impressively determined, Dayna Anderson is a heroine readers will fall in love with…I relished every unexpected twist and turn of this highly entertaining mystery!”
    — Kyra Davis on Hollywood Homicide
  • “This send-up of the superficiality of Hollywood is more Clueless than Black Dahlia, which is a lot of fun (one of Dayna’s friends is ecstatic to have been nominated “Hussy of the Week” by a gossip blog, then crushed when she loses the award to something calls Dopey Cat). Garrett is a former TV writer, and it shows in her snappy dialogue and laugh-out-loud one-liners.  ”
    — Kate Reed Petty on Hollywood Homicide (August 2020, CrimeReads)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

Leave a Reply