cover image Sweeter Than Honey

Sweeter Than Honey

Mary B. Morrison, . . Dafina, $24 (264pp) ISBN 978-0-7582-1511-6

The prolific Morrison launches her new series with a harsh, explicit look at the Las Vegas sex industry. Strong-willed Lace St. Thomas is the madam at Immaculate Perception, a high-end escort service run by the nefarious, mysterious Valentino. Lace, who's been through the sex industry wringer, wants to get her favorite girl, Sunny, out of the business, but a case of mistaken identity leads to a confrontation between Valentino and Sunny (Valentino had slept with Summer, Sunny's twin sister) that ends fatally for Sunny. From there, a convoluted plot mushrooms: Summer instinctively knows something has happened to Sunny, and she, along with Lace, become involved in Det. Sapphire Bleu's vendetta to take down Valentino. (Sapphire and Sunny were best friends.) Valentino, in turn, plots to kill Lace, and Lace's abusive mother tracks down Lace to demand she return home and donate marrow to aid in her sister's cancer treatment. The final confrontation between Lace, Summer and Valentino sends Lace off on a new life to be chronicled in future installments. The plot's unwieldy and the characters aren't especially striking, but Morrison certainly knows her way around the bedroom. (Aug.)