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.
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