The Manolo Matrix
by Julie Kenner
Manhattenite Jennifer crane longs to be a Broadway star, but makes due with being a singing waitress. The previous year, Jennifer’s friend and former roommate, Melanie Prescott, was involved in a real version of an online game of intrigue, puzzles, and murder. Melanie survived and subsequently joined the NSA. However, the games, real and online, are still being played. This time, Jennifer has to stop the assassin from completing the mission or she may be dead.
I like puzzle thrillers, even light-hearted, humorous ones. I couldn’t fully comprehend this one because it deals with Broadway productions, with which I’m not familiar. Still an enjoyable tale with a bit of romance to keep it spicy.
Jennifer Crane: employed as a singing waitress in Manhatten, trying to be a stage actress, tall, thin, former smoker, has a sister an niece, has brothers
Brian: Jennifer’s friend, stage actor, homosexual
Birdie: did prison time, blonde, has a tattoo of a tropical bird on her shoulder, husky voice
Melanie Prescott: Jennifer’s friend and former roommate, has a live-in boyfriend, pretty, words for the National Security Agency, was a survivor of a killer’s scheme the previous year. Lives in Maryland.
Devlin Brady: FBI agent who was involved in Melanie’s case. Won a tony award as a child.
Andrew Garrison: tall, geeky, spiked hair, thick glasses, freelance programmer, was shot while involved with a ‘real’ game.
Well developed characters even though not too much information is given. Kenner doesn’t slow things down with a lot of back story. Quick profiles and onto the action and story.
The main conversations are between Jennifer and Devlin. They play well off each other. Jennifer is all girl in her speech and actions.
First person from various characters. Chapters are named for the character presented. Some chapters are present tense. Relatively short chapters. Some profanity. Light-hearted tone when dealing with Jennifer. Action is quick and the sex is left to your imagination. I’ve read Kenner before and have enjoyed her stories.