Innuendo: A Todd Mills Mystery

Overview

Tim Chase walked across the room and flashed Todd Mills his megawatt smile. Stunned, Todd almost forgot the ugliness swirling around them both. For Chase, Hollywood's hottest star, it's the rumors that claim he is gay--and that his high-profile marriage is a sham. For Todd, an award-winning TV reporter, it's a murder case that has put his relationship with policeman Steve Rawlins in jeopardy and spread a deadly chill through Minneapolis's gay world.
The victim was a young man on...
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Overview

Tim Chase walked across the room and flashed Todd Mills his megawatt smile. Stunned, Todd almost forgot the ugliness swirling around them both. For Chase, Hollywood's hottest star, it's the rumors that claim he is gay--and that his high-profile marriage is a sham. For Todd, an award-winning TV reporter, it's a murder case that has put his relationship with policeman Steve Rawlins in jeopardy and spread a deadly chill through Minneapolis's gay world.
The victim was a young man on the run from his past. Somewhere, Rawlins met the boy, and now Todd believes Rawlins offered him more than guidance. While Todd is getting a once-in-a-lifetime shot at a very personal interview with Tim Chase, he suddenly realizes that the murder may touch the actor and his entourage. And now the story is not about Innuendo. It's about the secrets that rage behind public masquerades. Including the kind that kill... .
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An expertly, thrillingly paced story."
-- Lavender Magazine

"A quick, easy read, with enough mayhem to satisfy any fan of contemporary  thrillers."  
-- Chicago Tribune

"Smartly paced and emotionally resonant, the novel winds up with a stunning, steamy denouement that will keep readers on the edges of their beds."
--  Publishers Weekly

"This is Zimmerman's talent at its peak."
--  Chicago Sun Times

"Irresistible reading...there's a surprise in every chapter."
-- San Francisco Chronicle

Don't miss the award-winning Todd Mills Mystery series by R.D. Zimmerman

Outburst
Hostage
Tribe

Available from Dell

Ellery Queen
In Innuendo, Zimmerman is good at achieving gut-level reader involvement, and he'll keep you guessing whether you're reading a whodunit or a Columbo style inverted detective story.
Robert Starner
Innuendo manages to keep the intrigue and suspense moving at a rapid-fire pace as well keep our interests spurred in the Mills-Rawlins romance.
Lambda Book Report
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When one of Hollywood's hottest properties, the hunky Tim Chase, rolls into the Twin Cities for a shoot, TV news reporter Todd Mills (Outburst, etc.) finds himself in the midst of a big story. Chase has been hounded by rumors that he is gay, despite his fairy tale marriage to female superstar Gwen Owens. Mills, one of broadcasting's few openly gay reporters, is a natural to interview him. But before Mills meets Chase, Mills's lover, homicide detective Steve Rawlins, tells the reporter that 17-year-old Andrew Lyman has just been found with his throat slit. The news hits hard because Mills and Rawlins had met Andrew just a few months ago while volunteering at a gay and lesbian youth center. What Mills doesn't yet know, but soon finds out, is that Rawlins and Andrew may have been more than just friends. As the relationship between Rawlins and Mills cools off, the reporter's encounters with Chase heat up, especially when Chase invites Mills for an off-the-record interview that ends up being as much foreplay as work. Rawlins, meanwhile, investigates the killing; the hunt accelerates after Rawlins stumbles on Mills and Chase in a hot embrace, and the cop accuses the actor of being involved in the murder. Zimmerman offers sensitive depictions of the difficulties of gay adolescents, but balances them with tantalizing Hollywood glitz. Smartly paced and emotionally resonant, the novel winds up with a stunning, steamy denouement that will keep readers on the edges of their beds. Author tour. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Zimmerman's latest zeroes in on the grisly death of a 17-year-old boy. Unfortunately, Minneapolis homicide investigator Steve Rawlins had mentored the kid at a gay youth center, so the murder affects both Steve and his lover, television reporter Todd Miller. A solid choice for gay mystery collections. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385319263
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/7/2000
  • Series: Todd Mills Mystery Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.19 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

R.D. Zimmerman lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Well, thought Todd, looking down at the mass of newspaper clippings and articles spread on his dining room table, what if it was true? What if one of the biggest stars in America, one of the most famous actors in the world, was really gay? And what if Todd, an investigative reporter for WLAK, actually got an interview with Tim Chase, who was in Minneapolis shooting a film? How would Todd approach it, what angle would he take?

Raising his head, Todd stared out the balcony doors of his condo. An interview with Tim Chase was, to put it mildly, a long shot, but if by chance Todd got it, he'd have to handle it with the utmost care. After all, it was only a year or so ago that Chase had sued one of the supermarket tabloids over a headline that read "Mean Queen Chase Denies 7 Year Gay Romance & Buries Boyfriend in Poverty." And he'd won too. Big-time. While the tabloid had sold completely out of that issue, the story had eventually cost the journal $8.5 million, a sum that Tim Chase's spokesperson said, ". . . clearly vindicated Chase's sexuality." Todd still shuddered at the homophobia permeating that quote.

A shrill ring broke his thoughts, and he quickly reached for the cordless phone lying atop the glass table.

As if it weren't late evening and he weren't at home but still at work, he said, "Todd Mills."

"It's me."

"Hey, you."

Todd glanced at his watch, saw that it was just after nine, which meant that Steve Rawlins, Todd's lover, had less than ninety minutes to go on middle watch. With any luck, Minneapolis would remain murder-free at least until ten-thirty, when Rawlins's shift on Car 1110, which was manned twenty-four hours a day by homicide investigators, was over.

"I wish you'd come home so I'd stop working," said Todd.

"Well," began Rawlins in that deep, buttery voice, "that's why I'm calling. Something just came up."

"Don't say that."

"Unfortunately, it's all over the police bands. You haven't heard anything yet, huh?"

"No."

But Todd was sure he would any minute. If it was all over the police bands, the tip callers--any variety of nerdy informants who sat by their radios--would be calling WLAK and every other station in town with the hot information. Which meant that it would not only be a late night for Rawlins, who would automatically be assigned the case, but for Todd as well. No doubt about it, Todd was going to have to scramble like hell just to keep up with the competition.

"I'm guessing I won't be home until very late, if at all," Rawlins said.

"That doesn't sound good--what happened?"

"Foster and I are on our way there now--I'm calling from his car. All I know is that some kid's gone and got his throat slit."

"Oh, God," replied Todd. "Where?"

"Twenty-fifth and Bryant."

"Got a name?"

"Todd . . ." muttered Rawlins, clearly irritated.

"Well, you know damn well I'm going to find out sooner or later."

Rawlins hesitated before saying, "No, I don't have a name yet. All I know is that it's a young white male."

Todd grabbed a pen and jotted down the address and bit of information, knowing that no matter how hard he tried he wouldn't get anything more out of Rawlins, for the collision of their careers was one of the two most contentious issues between them. The second, which had only recently come up, was whether they should continue to have a monogamous relationship or perhaps agree to an open one.

"I guess I'll be seeing you in a few minutes," said Todd.

"I guess."

They chatted a bit more, and then Todd hung up. As was his habit, he glanced again out the balcony doors at the dark sky over Lake Calhoun and made a mental list of whom he had to call and what he had to do. Next he went into full speed.

Some fifteen minutes later Todd was racing north on Lyndale, thinking that, no, this wasn't like being an ambulance chaser, it was being an ambulance chaser, this push, this desperate rush not simply to be the best, but the first. And not simply the Johnny-on-the-spot, but the one with the most dramatic, the most real and gruesome of shots.

Glancing at his watch, Todd saw that it was twenty-five minutes until the ten p.m. Yes, it could still happen. Before leaving his condo, Todd had called WLAK and requested an ENG truck, one of those boxy vehicles equipped with tape decks, video monitors, and a microwave mast. He'd then phoned Bradley, his photographer, at home, interrupting him and his wife in the middle of their favorite show. And with any luck, Todd, Bradley, and the ENG technician would converge at the scene of the crime, get all set up, and start broadcasting live right at the top of the late news, WLAK's 10@10. If things went perfectly, too, Bradley would still be able to get some tape of that all-important shot, the one of the body as it was rolled away. Then again, who knew just when they'd be taking the body away. The scene was sure to be a madhouse, swarming with cops, the Bureau of Investigation team, and the guys from homicide, namely Rawlins and his partner, Neal Foster, who'd been on duty on Car 1110 since three that afternoon. So it could be hours, perhaps as long as two, even three, before the medical examiner rolled out the victim.

Driving his new Jeep Grand Cherokee, his old one having been smashed in a tornado that past summer, Todd took a deep breath. Brace yourself, he told himself. Who knew if this would be a great story, but it definitely would be a late night.

In his early forties, Todd Mills was almost too old to be chasing around like this, at least by television standards. He was still in great shape, no doubt about it, and his face, which was almost rugged but definitely handsome with a small mouth and chin and eyes that were much too soft, still attracted attention. He had a full head of medium brown hair, too, the importance of which could never be overlooked in television. But this was a young person's job, and at some point in the not so distant future he was either going to have to make the leap to an anchor position, in which case he'd be one of only two or three openly gay anchors in the country, or he'd have to retreat, per se, to the position of a producer. And if he stayed in the area, Todd was betting on the latter. As liberal and open-minded as Minnesota liked to believe it was, there was only so far, Todd had come to feel, things could be pushed. In other words, he was highly skeptical that viewers would knowingly tolerate a homosexual every night in their homes, let alone see an openly gay anchor as a pillar of honesty and trust. And if even a handful of viewers objected to a gay anchor, that would be one too many for management, which could only be described as skittish.

His truck hit a pothole, of which there were so many these days, particularly on Lyndale, an old street pocked with time, and the entire vehicle rattled. His fingers tightened on the wheel, and his mind skipped back to the official request he'd submitted to Tim Chase's publicity people just last week. What he wanted to find out, of course, was if what he'd heard about Chase was really true. He couldn't deny he'd been all but obsessed since he'd heard the story several months ago and particularly now that Chase was in town. Todd had heard lots of gossip about famous people from friends of friends who knew someone whose uncle was in the movie business, but this was as direct as he would ever get. Marcia, an old college pal, had called Todd up not even two hours after she'd heard it directly from John Vox.

"Oh, my God, Todd, you're not going to believe this!" she'd exclaimed.

While Marcia had appeared in a couple of commercials, she'd never made it literally beyond the role of a Skippy mom, and so she'd gone back to school and gotten a degree in accounting. However, John Vox, one of her instructors from Northwestern, had eventually left the university and been "discovered," becoming not one of the big stars, but establishing himself as a quality actor known for his wide range. Now in his mid-fifties, his blond hair gone gray, his cherubic face interestingly lined with time, he was in recent years becoming America's favorite bad guy, playing every part from conniving con man to corrupt congressman. And just a few months ago when he was in Chicago playing some loan shark in a film based on an Elmore Leonard book, Marcia and he had had lunch at the Ambassador Hotel's Pump Room. They talked about it all, Marcia's life in the corporate world, her divorce, and eventually John's films, including one that he'd done a couple of years ago playing an evil traitor opposite none other than America's favorite, Tim Chase.

"You know, John, I'm sorry, but I gotta ask you this," said Marcia, leaning across the table. "I mean, I know he's married to Gwen Owens, and, my God, she's sooo beautiful and such a talented actress. And I know they have a little boy. But I've heard this rumor--and of course there was that big lawsuit when he sued some magazine or something--so you gotta tell me, is Tim Chase gay or isn't he?"

The way Marcia told the story, John Vox covered his mouth with his fine white napkin, leaned back his head, and roared with laughter.

"Well," demanded Marcia, unable to bear it, "is he or isn't he?"

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Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2009

    Really fun

    Innuendo is one of a series of five books following the career of an outed reporter in the twin cities. Mills is the reporter in this fast paced and well written story who gets an exclusive interview with a movie star who is married with a son and is rumored to be gay. A murder occurs and Mills is able to discover a connection between the movie star and the murder as well as a few really well hidden Hollywood secrets. Book is fast paced and well written. Kind of a who-dunnit meets tabloid. some intimate scenes are graphic and involve same sex couples so be aware.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2002

    Great Weekend Mystery

    I first picked this book up to read during a trip I was going on- it turns out to have been money well spent! Zimmerman spins a tale that makes it hard to put the book down. Because of this I am now going back to read earlier Todd Mills stories, and finding each as amazing as this one was. What I liked about this book was just because the characters were gay, it didn't go out of the way to preach to anyone, it simply tells an amazing story.

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