Sex, Murder and a Double Latte, by Kyra Davis

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on September 16, 2008

This chick-lit concoction will keep you sipping into the wee hours…

The chick lit mystery is a complicated blend to pull off, but Krya Davis’s debut novel Sex Murder and a Double Latte does it right: just enough foam to be fun, with plenty of jolts along the way to keep it exciting. Mm hmm! Want to know how this Double Latte goes down? Here’s the skinny.

First of all, I love this mystery’s premise: a mystery writer who gets creeped out when a killer starts recreating crime scenes from her novel (or do they?) But rather than play the victim, our sassy heroine Sophie Katz (owner of cat Mr. Katz) decides to channel her novel’s herione Alicia Bright to catch the murderer at his own game. But from the suicide of the producer who wanted to make Katz’s novel a screenplay to the mysterious murder of a local rapper, Katz begins to realize the mystery may be bigger than she. As a result, a shaken-but-determined Sophie is led on a cat-and-mouse chase, colored by a quirky vampire role-player, a gritty Vegas kingpin, and a caustic heiress hellbent on getting her inheritance.

It’s not often that a chick lit mystery can pull off a fairly involved conspiracy theory like this one without seeming totally ludicrous, but Davis’ spine tingling story achieves this with pleasing (and plausible) aplomb. While the plot does broaden considerably, with twist after twist until you realize it’s two a.m. and you’re still reading, the sequence of events is logical and the climax totally original, interesting and satisfyingly twisted.

Other good things: for a book with a pink cover featuring a stiletto and a latte, Davis writes terror surprisingly well. But the emotion this book generates is more the mischievous, page-turning excitement of a good caffeine buzz rather than the chilling gory terror that keeps you awake at night. Heavy on suspense, low on sicko violence, this is the perfect girly mystery for a gal who likes her kicks without a side of nightmares.

Through it all, vibrant Russian Hill in San Francisco plays a role reminiscent of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series, adding cultural charm to soften the starker story lines.

If the heroine’s two sidekicks Mary Ann and Dena closely resemble a modern day George and Bess (Nancy Drew’s besties) it only serves to add nostalgic appeal to this already addictive novel, while the dreamy Anatoly Darkinsky adds an unusually steamy side to this book which makes Double Latte doubly tingly. On the other hand, if in the sequel Passion, Betrayl and Killer HighlightsSex-Murder-Double-Latte-Sexy-Chick-Lit-Mystery, Davis decides to kill off her more cliched characters, such as the gay hairdresser best friend, the neurotic mom, and the smug married sister, I would consider her novels the stronger for it. Either way, I will be buying the sequel, and fully plan to devour it in one sitting.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: