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REVIEW

"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 men.

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 killed.

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 bored.

Reviewed by Linda Hurst
Posted June 2, 2005

Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted November 29, 2006

SUMMARY

Cryptography is the new black.

A mind-bending code spawned from the mind of a madman...or maybe just a jealous ex.

A desperate race through the cathedrals and hotels of New York City...with a teeny bit of time for shopping, it's true.

An astonishing truth concealed for years, unveiled at last...with more than a little help from a supercute new guy.

As if a recent breakup, scrounging for rent money, and lusting after designer shoes weren't enough to make graduate student Melanie Prescott's life challenging, suddenly she's practically lving The Da Vinci Code. A mysterious stranger is sending obscure codes and clues her way and she soon dicovers she has to solve them in order to stay alive. With stakes like that, her dissertation on "the derivation and primary characteristics of codes and ciphers used by prevailing nations during wartime" is looking a little less important that it was yesterday. Right now she's just worrying about living to see tomorrow. The only bright spot in the whole freakish nightmare is Matthew Stryker, the six-foot tall, dark, and handsome stranger who's determined to protect her. Well, that and the millions of dollars that will be her reward if she survives this deadly game. And she'd better survive. Because that's a heck of a lot of money to be able to spend on shoes and handbags and sunglasses and dresses, and, well, it's hard to be fashionable when you're dead.

 

The Givenchy Code
(perfectly appointed mystery #1)
by Julie Kenner

Downtown Press
June 1, 2006
Available: November 29, 2006
ISBN #0743496132
EAN #9780743496131
320 pages
Trade Size
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Other Books by
Julie Kenner

Turned
Torn
Demon Ex Machina
Tainted
Deja Demon
These Boots Were Made for Stomping
Good Ghouls Do
Demons Are Forever
Fendi, Ferragamo, and Fangs
Hell on Heels
The Prada Paradox
The Good Ghouls' Guide to Getting Even
Hell with the Ladies
California Demon
The Monolo Matrix
Carpe Demon
The Hope Chest
Aphrodite's Flame
Essence of Midnight
The Spy Who Loves Me
Stolen Kisses
Beyond Suspicion
Silent Desires
Manhunting in Mississippi
Aphrodite's Secret
Silent Confessions
Nobody But You
Undercover Lovers
Aphrodite's Passion
A Mother's Way
L. A. Confidential
Aphrodite's Kiss
Intimate Fantasy
The Cat's Fancy


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