Lyla and Graham Herschel like to play games. Not board or video games. Too boring for this ultra-rich restless couple who live in a home high up in the Hollywood Hills and not too far from Graham’s overbearing mother who would certainly win any mother-in-law from hell contest.
No, the games they like to play involve destroying people’s lives. And that’s what they intend to do to Demi Golding, who they believe is a high earning executive at a tech company.
In Good Rich People, Eliza Jane Brazier, sets up an unwitting match between these heartless trio and Demi, who is homeless. But they don’t know that. By luck—and the cunning of those always on the brink of catastrophe—she has the necessary information to take them up on an offer to live on their property.
Typically, son, mother, and wife set people up so they lose everything—their jobs, reputations, and money. But Demi doesn’t have any of those to lose and she’s learned how to survive during her tumultuous childhood, a skill she really needs to try to outwit the threesome who, suffocating with boredom, have upped their game to include murder.
Brazier, who lived in London for years but now resides in California, knows a little bit about homelessness and having to scrabble to survive. After moving to England, she lost her job and was lucky enough to be taken in by a kindly man who would become her future husband.
“He was always taking people in and helping them,” she says about her musician spouse who is now deceased.
The jobs she was able to find didn’t pay enough to give her security and so what writing about the ultra-rich versus the poor really resonates.
It’s typical of Brazier to draw upon her experiences for her books.
“I worked at a ranch in Northern California which is where my book, If I Disappear, is set,” she says in a phone interview where she’s working on her fourth book. Her third, set in Los Angeles where she lives, is already written.
When I ask her if the real ranch was as creepy and weird as the one in her book, she laughs and tells me it was worse. Wow.
Life is different now with the success of her books. Brazier says she was always a storyteller but didn’t have confidence in her writing ability. When she finally decided to give it a try, she spent a lot of time honing her writing skills and learning the business. Now, she not only is writing mystery novels but also is developing If I Disappear for television.
“It’s still unbelievable,” she says about the turn her life has taken. “I’m still somewhat in denial.”