The Manolo Matrix

by Julie Kenner

Simon & Schuster, February, 2006.
Paperback, 352 pages.
ISBN: 0743496140
Subgenre: Contemporary

The Manolo Matrix by Julie Kenner Jennifer Crane is an aspiring Broadway actress and singer who makes her living waitressing while waiting for her big break. After losing out at an audition, she's determined to make her dreams come true. But her life is about to change in a very shocking way. A few years ago, she signed up to play the Internet game, "Play-Survive-Win" but she never actually played. In the game, there are a Target, a Protector and an Assasin. In The Givenchy Code, someone brought the game into real life -- if the Protector doesn't save the Target, the Assassin gets a rich reward and they both die. If they stop the Assassin, they retire rich. Of course, it's all wildly illegal, but there doesn't seem to be a way to stop the game. And if you don't participate, you get killed. Jennifer gets notified that the Game has started and that she is the Protector of suspended FBI agent Devlin Brady who has some experience with the game. The two eventually team up to stop the Assassin, looking for clues all over New York City in a frantic race to stay alive -- and buy some great shoes along the way.

The Manolo Matrix picks up where The Givenchy Code left off, but it reads equally well as a stand-alone title. The assassin, Birdie, is a hard-edged aggressive woman who really loves her job. Now that's she's out of jail, she's looking forward to killing Devlin (who helped put her in jail) and collecting her millions. The story alternates between Devlin's, Birdie's and Jennifer's point of view, making for very interesting contrasts of how the three characters view the same events. The two women couldn't be more different in their taste, outlook on life, moral values -- and their taste in shoes. This is a sexy, fast and funny chick lit thriller that really isn't like anything else you've ever read. Next up is The Prada Paradox, in which the author promises to reveal all about the mysterious brains behind Play. Survive. Win.

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This review was published in the February, 2006 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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