Sunday, October 13, 2019

Book Review: 'Confessions of a Celebrity Bodyguard' by Thomas Fitzsimmons

This is a fine book, well written, and so life like that it has to be real. Then we notice the biographical information about this author and the credibility gap narrows: this man has lived this story in many ways. Thomas Fitzsimmons is a Vietnam veteran, a former New York City police officer, NBC television personality, Ford Model, and soap-opera/TV commercial actor, business associate and friend to some of the country's most rich and famous, and owner of Armed Executive Protection. So here is a novel about a celebrity bodyguard who actually has been one, and he has seen both sides of the celebrity line – as and actor and model and as a top security consultant and bodyguard to A-list celebrities.

While all of that frontline background allows reality to his novel. It is the quality of his writing that makes this not a memoir but instead a novel that competes with the big time crime novelists.

An example of his writing style is in the opening pages of this book: ‘Six years earlier: Grammy Award– winning singing sensation and international sex symbol Audra Gardner expired on September 15 at approximately 12: 05 a.m. Her two bodyguards, a retired New York City police lieutenant, Shamus Beckett, and his son, moonlighting off-duty police officer Michael Beckett, discovered Audra naked in the bedroom of her lavish twenty-million-dollar Manhattan town house, lying facedown in a pool of her own vomit. A hypodermic needle containing heroin laced with fentanyl— a powerful opiate usually found in patches given to cancer patients— was still stuck in her slender arm. The twenty-one-year old, multitalented superstar who was adored by millions, had died utterly alone. Although she had received thinly veiled death threats— e-mails, texts, and phone calls— from a mysterious individual claiming to be a divine messenger calling himself the Angel of Death— the police found no evidence of foul play.’ And that just opens the story.

Thomas’ synopsis is a clear map of the storyline: ‘Someone is murdering A-list celebrities--only professional bodyguard Michael Beckett can make them stop. Ex–New York City cop Michael Beckett has seen the worst humanity has to offer. But nothing has quite prepared him for his role as a celebrity bodyguard: shepherding lowlife TV-reality star Tata Andolini through throngs of fans and hyper-charged celebrity photographers: stalkerazzi. And when he takes on a new client—the beautiful A-list celebrity Victoria Carrington—the chaos only gets more chaotic. Heroin has made its way into the celebrity circles Beckett inhabits. And stars are fatally overdosing—very likely the deliberate work of a serial killer. Meanwhile, Beckett’s previous romantic entanglements—of which there are many—are threatening to undo him personally and professionally. His mentor, Sweet Tommy Lisi, a reformed mobster, may not be as reformed as he’d thought. And the feds are on Beckett’s tail for his previous involvement with the Rockers, the NYPD’s vigilante avenging angels. Could things get more complicated? Probably.’

In other words this is a novel begging to become a film and the sixth right on the scene story that further establishes a solid career – to add to Thomas’ list of resume! Grady Harp, July 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.