Thursday, August 14, 2014

Code red lipstick by Sarah Sky

Jessica Cole is not your average teenager, first of all she is an up and coming teen model, and secondly her dad is a retired MI6 operative.  With a father who was a spy it was natural for him to transition into the world of private detective services, but most people would be more than a little surprised to know that he has been teaching Jessica some of the tricks of the trade over the years.  When her father goes missing and his secret office is ransacked, Jessica reaches out for help - only to be told to sit tight and do nothing because her father is wanted for questioning for dodgy dealings.  Knowing her father is tantalisingly close (just across the Channel in Paris) makes doing nothing torture, especially when she is told to stay away from Paris.

With no choice but to strike out on her own Jessica wrangles a trip to Paris out of her modelling agency - Couture Week is the perfect cover.  But nothing is ever simple when spies are involved, and it quickly becomes clear that even with all the tricks and skills her father taught her she is in over her head.  Jessica is in a race against time to find her father before the required evil mastermind completes their evil plan - of course to stop the back guy you have to figure out who it is first!  There are lots of players in this spying game, and all of them seem to be getting in the way as Jessica desperately searches for her father.

Code red lipstick is the first book in the Jessica Cole model spy series and was a charming diversion from all of the intense dystopias and action thrillers I have read recently.  Teen spies and model spies have been a "thing" for the past few years, gaining popularity with characters like Alex Rider and evolving to include series like CHERUB - ranging from serious and intense through to the sublime and the ridiculous.  Jessica Cole sits somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, there are cool gadgets and real danger, but at times it is a little hard to take the book seriously when the main character is a model whose role is usually to sit there and look pretty. 

I wasn't expecting too much from this read, a little escapism and a giggle, but what I got was so much more and I was disappointed when I couldn't read the book in one sitting because I wanted (okay at times needed) to know what came next.  In many ways Jessica has a lot in common with Alex Rider, while there is a grounding in reality the story stretches your believability to the limits and makes it clear that this is fiction not fact.  The story is suitably complicated, it is not clear who the bad guys are as they don't obviously wear black hats or show their cards too early which helps keep the tension high right up until the end.  If you want a fun read with a bit of substance then Code red lipstick may just be the book for you.  Really looking forward to more books in this series to see if Sky can keep up the quality writing, and to see what happens next for Jessica.

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Reviewed by Brilla

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the lovely review, Brilla. I'm thrilled you like Code Red Lipstick. Book two, Fashion Assassin, is out in January 2015 and book 3 in the summer. Best wishes, Sarah Sky.