Constant Craving

For Her Eyes Only

Going Too Far

Just Eight Months Old

License to Thrill

Never Say Never Again

The P. I. Who Loved Her

Skin Deep

Where You Least Expect It

You Only Love Once

You Sexy Thing!

Foul Play
by Tori Carrington
(Forge, $23.95, PG) ISBN 978-0765317438
To use Tori Carrington’s own analogy, this book was definitely a foul.  I’m sure being compared to Stephanie Plum is nothing new for the Sofie Metropolis, Queens-based PI character, in fact, that is what drew me to the series.  My low rating of this book is caused by how long it took to become interested in the plot and how hard I had to try to keep that interest in relation to how much fun I had reading the previous novel, Dirty Laundry.

Sofie is something of a Stephanie Plum clone, which doesn’t disturb me a bit since I am one of an endless supply of Janet Evanovich fans.  In Foul Play, Sofie has just become a fair-weather Mets fan.  However, she is not thrilled when the wife of the star pitcher approaches her to find out what changed her husband.  The difference between this cheating-spouse case and the scads of others awaiting Sofie, however, is the huge wad of cash the missus waves under her nose.

Sofie and a newly-recruited investigator launch into trailing Reni Venezuela, which ends up causing Sofie a lot of problems since his bodyguards aren’t too fond of her. Not to mention, the case ends up branching off in directions she hadn’t dreamed of.  And though Sofie doesn’t have the money problems that Stephanie Plum or the rest of us do, she does have the typical bad-hair-day, no-boyfriend, pain-in-the-butt-ex issues.  Plus, she’s being inundated with missing pets cases and she has just hired her shady cousin on as office help.

These ordinary things and her quirky family lend that familiar air of hilarity.  Unfortunately, Sofie’s somewhat dysfunctional Greek family doesn’t put in much of an appearance in this book, nor does her office manager, Rosie, who is such a hoot.  Even the intestinally-challenged dog Sofie inherited in her last caper provides little comic relief.

A few minor characters from the previous book make reappearances, the most notable of which is the Greek man (or myth come to life, if the heroine is to be believed), Kosmos, with whom Sofie’s meddling mother tried to match her sister Efie.  This is only notable because all of a sudden he has a role in Sofie’s life, not because his time in the limelight is so fascinating. In fact, his character isn’t expanded on much at all.  Therein are the primary issues with this book:  there is no character growth and very little character interaction.  Sofie’s inner thoughts aren’t fascinating enough to pull the reader through a plot that you can see coming from a mile away.  

Sofie, her family, her love interests, and her coworkers have a lot of unrealized potential - potential that was better displayed in the last book and washed out in this one.  Let’s just hope the author hits it out of the ballpark next time – it’s pretty obvious even in this book that this husband-and-wife team have the capability to do so.

--Sarrah Knight

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