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Lisa Derrick Headshot

Paris Hilton, Girl Detective?

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It sounds like a pitch too rich for TV: a sexy socialite who solves crimes between sips of champagne at trendy Sunset Blvd nightclubs. But according to Mark Ebner's gripping and sexy new true crime book, Six Degrees of Paris Hilton, truth trumps television: Paris Hilton helped solve one of Hollywood's sleazier crimes-the 2004 kidnapping and videotaped gluteal tickling of Girls Gone Wild impresario Joe Francis who sorta cried on the tapes which were later used to extort him.

This book is a celebrity-soaked bitches' brew bubbling over with toxic-shocked debutantes on a collision course with miscreants and the maladjusted. Coke addled "models" and porn stars rub shoulders and more with boxers-cum-strong-arm men. Gold diggers, art collectors and nightclub owners keep the hustle going; sleazy lawyers and sports and entertainment figures work to get their piece, while frustrated cops try to catch a break.

And in the midst, juggling to run all the scams for their own glory and gain are criminals like double murderer Darnell Riley who served juvenile time for a jewelry heist gone bad; and Will Wright, a lying, thieving scam artist pot dealer who ended up with a Hollywood production deal.

In Six Degrees of Paris Hilton author Ebner deftly, boldly and unflinchingly turns over the 3-carat rocks to show the wanna-bes squirming with the worms as everyone struggles for a moment in the flashblub's glare and a lifetime of big payoff.

Take Will Wright who Photo-shopped documents and articles to make himself look like a big time drug dealer and parlayed his fake clips into producing a movie, The Echo. Though says, author Ebner:

Ex-con Will Wright's sugardaddy-ed foray into feature films as a producer can be considered at best, inauspicious. There is no firm release date for this picture, and I'm fielding reports that he is currently embroiled in lawsuits with his foreign distributor.

Or models/actress/professional girlfriend Erin Naas who shopped and snorted her way through millions of dollars while cavorting with crooks and allegedly helping to stage robberies and take downs. And through the murky universe of coke, cash, vicodin and Rolexes floats Paris Hilton

the celestial body around which the planets seem to revolve.

Ebner faces beat downs, set ups, and a near-fatal stroke as he plows under Hollywood red carpets and clambers over velvet ropes to unravel the strange and lurid letters and phone calls from murderer/kidnapper Darnells after Ebner writes a series of articles about Riley's crimes and one of his victims, reality soft-porn producer Joe Francis, who in Riley's eyes is more victimizer than victim. Half-truths and near-lies peel away like a starlet's borrowed gown and ugly facts shine through dope smoke. All the while Ebner keeps writing the story as it rolls out in almost real time, chronicling duplicity and depravity with fierce insight and rich, meaty prose, discovering art thefts, fraud and a bottomless cesspool of shattered dreams and feckless, reckless abandon.

How did tabloid darlings like Shannen Doherty, Nick Carter, Pamela Anderson, Nicole Richie and Mickey Rourke get sucked in and suckered by career criminals, fringe-hanging drug addicts and various scumbags? Explains Ebner:

The con artists and shakedown specialists featured in my book chose their victims as carefully as successful bank robbers pick their venues. They interloped their way in to the Sub Hollywood 'bling' set through the nightclubs-preying on personalities not known for intelligence, or discretion.

So does Paris have a chance to be immortalized as television's next super sexy sleuth, sort of a nightclub-dwelling Nancy Drew, a post-modern, pre-menopausal Jessica Fletcher? Laughs Ebner:

Jessica Fletcher was a character based out of Maine, so please do not attempt to offend my Yankee New Englander sensibility.

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Lisa Derrick is La Figa at Firedoglake.com