"Wild Ride in the City with Sexy Single"
In The Givenchy Code, Julie Kenner has pulled off a perfect
hat trick: a non-stop action plot that has likable
characters and great humor.
Melanie Prescott is a wonderful and unique heroine. She can
dish Manolos, Jimmy Chu's and Givenchy with the best of the
other New York City shopaholics, especially where shoes are
concerned; but she is also a math major graduate student,
terrific cryptologist and a certified Mensa member. In fact
although she may come off as scatty, Mel has never lost at
anything she has tried; except for her relationships with
At book's start Mel is approached in the park by her ex-
boy friend Todd bearing Givenchy pumps. While food may be
the way to a man's heart, Todd knows shoes will get to
Mel's. Mel agrees to have dinner with Todd and he insures
her arrival when he makes off with a mysterious message
that is delivered to her by a scary stranger in the park.
On arrival at Todd's, Mel deciphers the code quickly and
then tosses the 'invitation' to play a computer game known
as Play Survive Win (PSW) in the trash. The message
reads "Play or Die" and Mel does not realize that she
doesn't have a choice about playing the game. But after a
night of hot sex, Mel is shocked to find Todd dead and
herself warned that she is now playing PSW for real and
that she is the target to be killed.
Luckily for Mel, ex-Marine Matthew Stryker has been given
the role of 'protector' for her. Matthew is assigned to
help her win the game (live).
What follows is a non-stop scavenger hunt for clues through
New York with Lynx in hot pursuit. Mel and Stryker are both
smart, very clever and so manage to stay one step ahead of
Lynx, the hunter. Unfortunately they are not always able to
protect others. Amazingly Mel and Stryker manage to run
from Lynx while also delivering clever dialogue and having
hot sex. They are truly a fun and inventive pair.
While THE GIVENCHY CODE is loaded with brand names, they
are not just sprinkled there for effect, but serve to
enlighten the reader as to Mel's interests and character.
Anyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the last 5
years will be familiar with all of the store and brand
names and Mel is a cross between an intelligent Carrie (Sex
in the City) and Sydney of Alias. Mel has often dreamed of
Sydney-type adventures for herself, but these were day
dreams she never expected to come true. Now, she is not
sure she wants an adventurous life after all-- especially
if she might not live through the experience.
Matthew Stryker provides the gravitas that makes this book
work. An ex-Marine now doing mysterious anti-terrorist work
for the Government, he is also unwillingly sucked into the
PSW world. Matthew is especially anxious to save Mel,
because he had ignored a previous 'invitation' to play PSW
thinking it a joke and the woman he was to protect was
I especially loved Matthew's vulnerability, he was
literally sick when he realized the 'game' was starting
again. Matthew is a true caretaker and his sensitivity
beneath his alpha male facade make him a truly unique hero.
Matthew and Mel click immediately and his acceptance of her
as his equal and on occasion more intelligent partner made
this couple very special.
Kenner manages to pull off switching from 1st person (Mel)
to 3rd person between chapters without a slip and the non-
stop narrative had me turning the pages quickly to find out
where the next clue would take them. A breath-taking ride
as Mel runs ahead of a killer in her Prada sneakers with
Matthew at her back.
THE GIVENCHY CODE is light on description in the sex
scenes, but I didn't miss the extensive erotic detail as it
was obvious this couple was hot and connected with each
other on more then one level.
THE GIVENCHY CODE is the perfect summer read: light, funny,
action-packed with a great couple--perfect for reading on
the beach. I can guarantee that the reader will not be
Reviewed by Linda Hurst
Posted June 2, 2005
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted November 29, 2006