More to add to the 2021 #allthebookreviews list
THE LADY UPSTAIRS – Halley Sutton (Released November 17th, 2020)
A modern-day noir featuring a twisty cat-and-mouse chase, this dark debut thriller tells the story of a a woman who makes a living taking down terrible men…then finds herself in over her head and with blood on her hands. The only way out? Pull off one final con.
Jo’s job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles–handsy Hollywood producers, adulterous actors, corrupt cops. Sure, she likes the money she’s making, which comes in handy for the debt she is paying off, but it’s also a chance to take back power for the women of the city. Eager to prove herself to her coworker Lou and their enigmatic boss, known only as the Lady Upstairs, Jo takes on bigger and riskier jobs.
When one of her targets is murdered, both the Lady Upstairs and the LAPD have Jo in their sights. Desperate to escape the consequences of her failed job, she decides to take on just one more sting–bringing down a rising political star. It’s her biggest con yet–and she will do it behind the Lady’s back, freeing both herself and Lou. But Jo soon learns that Lou and the Lady have secrets of their own, and that no woman is safe when there is a life-changing payout on the line.
A delicious debut thriller crackling with wit and an unforgettable feminist voice, The Lady Upstairs is a chilling and endlessly surprising take on female revenge.
Chandra’s Thoughts: 3/5 stars
A group of women “living to take down terrible men”. Sold! As expected, we get a read about sex, blackmail and revenge. Jo is our flawed protagonist who loves her job but is desperate for the money as she has pressing debts to pay off. Plus, it keeps her close to Lou, who she clearly is in love with and is hoping to run off into the sunset with her at some point. But first, she needs to get herself sorted and this is no easy task.
While I love the premise of this and felt it started strong, the middle lulled as we get further into Jo’s gin-soaked brain. So many mistakes being made… GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, JO! Then it gets interesting again as the last quarter moves right along. The twist was expected but I wasn’t sure if it was going to go *this* way or *that* way and then…. well, I don’t know about you other readers, but WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU MA’AM. Though, admittedly, I could’ve done without the last chapter.
A very solid and promising debut from Sutton. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for her as I have no doubt she’s making her mark in this genre.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
There’s just something about this year and the stunning covers and impressive debut novels. THE LADY UPSTAIRS by Halley Sutton is one hell of a cat-and-mouse suspense/thriller with an ending I absolutely loved. If you’re looking for something you can sit down with and quickly flip through, then this one (at just over 300 pages) is perfect.
I think the synopsis gives you the right amount of information – Jo’s job is blackmail. She’s out to take down all the awful men surrounding Los Angeles, from the corrupt police officers, to the actors, and all the way up to the horrible and grabby producers. When one of her clients is murdered, that puts her, her colleague Lou, and their boss, the Lady Upstairs, in a bad spot.
This is just a great revenge story – hell hath no fury and all. I will say that this might feel like more of a suspense than a thriller due to the pacing towards the beginning. However, once things pick up then it doesn’t slow down until the twist! I can’t wait to see what else Sutton has in store for us and I will be anxiously waiting for the next release.