Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Sofie grows up in her latest adventure

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    ‘Queens Ransom,’ by Tori Carrington. (Severn House Publishers; 192 pages; $29)



When tear­ing through the pad­ded en­ve­lope to re­veal the lat­est So­fie Metrop­o­lis ad­ven­ture — or mis­ad­ven­ture — it was like hear­ing from an old friend.

I won­dered: Just how was So­fie these days? Did she ever de­cide to fo­cus her at­ten­tion on just one of her many men? And what trou­ble is she into now? Be­cause in­ev­i­ta­bly there’s go­ing to be some sort of mess.

Queens Ran­som, the sixth book in the chick lit/de­tec­tive se­ries by Toledo au­thors Tony and Lori Karay­ianni, who write un­der the name Tori Car­ring­ton, picks up in So­fie’s life right where read­ers left off. It’s just about one month af­ter she helped catch a se­rial killer in Love Bites and eight months af­ter we first met her in the de­but novel, So­fie Metrop­o­lis, re­leased in 2005.

But while So­fie still has an over-bear­ing Greek mother and drinks way too many iced frappes — even in the dead of win­ter — some­thing has changed in the more than 1,700 pages dur­ing which she has come to life. Although al­ways en­dear­ing, some­what dys­func­tional, and in­creas­ingly dar­ing, So­fie now also ex­udes self-con­fi­dence and ma­tu­rity.

I guess you’d say she’s grow­ing up.

After mak­ing some­what of a name for her­self in the pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor busi­ness, So­fie is con­tacted by a lo­cal Greek ty­coon whose daugh­ter has been kid­napped. Wor­ried that work­ing with the au­thor­i­ties will lead to the death of his only child, George Abra­mopou­los con­tacts ev­ery PI in the city to work the case. And the Greek-ver­sion of Don­ald Trump — or more ac­cu­rately, his goons — won’t take no for an an­swer.

With the help of her feisty Puerto Ri­can of­fice man­ager and the rest of the agency’s team of mis­fit in­ves­ti­ga­tors, So­fie finds her­self one step ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion and there­fore, squarely in the cross­hairs of a few un­de­sir­able types.

Which is why this 26-year-old Greek girl from the Asto­ria, N.Y., doesn’t leave home with­out her Glock.

But that’s not all. What’s a So­fie nar­ra­tive with­out the ob­li­ga­tory cheat­ing spouse case, the sur­real re­quest of Mrs. Nicho­las ask­ing that her red-nosed rein­deer be found, and of course, the seem­ingly end­less sup­ply of hunky men and the prob­lems they bring? Espe­cially if one of those men was de­ported just as she was be­gin­ning to re­al­ize her feel­ings for him and an­other of those men was the likely cause of the un­ex­pected trip across the ocean.

And all this just as the hol­i­days are ap­proach­ing and So­fie learns that her phi­lan­der­ing ex-fi­ance and her ex-best friend — both “exes” be­cause of the po­si­tion she found them in on her wed­ding day eight months ago — are set to be mar­ried.

It’s enough to send a lesser woman scur­ry­ing into her warm bed, but So­fie takes the cases and her life straight on.

As in the pre­vi­ous five nov­els, it’s the first-per­son charm and de­tails — some­times in­ti­mate — of her life that make So­fie so en­gag­ing. And al­though her wit and cha­risma have been pres­ent through­out, it re­ally hit home dur­ing Queens Ran­som how ex­pertly the au­thors can make their read­ers care about So­fie’s life, if only be­cause we seem to be a part of ev­ery as­pect of it.

Once again, the Kar­ray­ian­nis de­liver a light and fan­ci­ful read. So­fie has an at­ti­tude to match her sense of ad­ven­ture and you can’t help but cheer her on.

At the end of Queens Ran­som there are still un­an­swered ques­tions, like who will be the man who fi­nally gets So­fie to hang up her shoul­der hol­ster and, will she fi­nally get rid of all those un­opened wed­ding gifts crowd­ing her bed­room floor?

But for those an­swers and likely more ques­tions, I guess I’ll have to wait un­til So­fie stops by again.

Con­tact Erica Blake at:

eblake@the­ or 


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