The Lady Upstairs

Halley Sutton. Putnam, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-5931-8773-9
Jo, the femme fatale narrator of Sutton’s intriguing if flawed debut, is in debt to her employer, the shadowy operator of the Lady Upstairs’ Staffing Agency, which is a front for a lucrative blackmail operation that targets rich, despicable, adulterous men. Colleagues Robert Jackal, her sometime paramour, and Lou, her beguiling female lover, lend support as Jo strives to work off her debt. Alas, Jo’s plans unravel with fatal results when a naive recruit of hers fails to entrap a sleazy Hollywood movie producer, and Jo winds up under investigation by the LAPD. Worried that the Lady Upstairs might try to eliminate her, Jo hatches a plot to entrap a mayoral candidate and use the money to escape the Lady forever. But her confidence is misplaced, and nothing is quite as it seems. Though the plot stalls midway through and splutters to a predictable conclusion, Sutton’s stylish, edgy prose and strong female characters will delight fans of American noir. Hopefully, Jo will be back soon. Agent: Sharon Pelletier, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 07/29/2020
Release date: 11/17/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Book - 978-0-593-18774-6
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