Mystery writer and dabbling recreational sleuth Sophie Katz is head over heels in love - with a three-bedroom Victorian. She's just got to have it, despite a few drawbacks. Her slimy ex is the realtor. The rich, creepy seller wants her to join San Francisco's spirited Specter Society. And her first tour of the house reveals, well, a lifeless body clutching a cameo with a disturbing history of its own. There's no way Sophie is going to give up the ghost on her dreams of stained glass and original woodwork, though--even when things become officially weird. A Society member is found with a slashed throat, and Sophie's house might as well be yelling, "GET...OUT!" She's hearing footsteps, lights are turning themselves off and her stuff keeps moving inexplicably. To top it off, boyfriend Anatoly thinks it's all in her head. Sophie is 99 percent sure her problems are caused by someone six feet tall instead of six feet under, but the only way to be sure is to track down the killer - before he pushes her kicking and screaming to the other side.More
Mystery novelist Sophie Katz is a tart, peppery vodka gimlet of a gal, gadding about foggy San Francisco, sleuthing crimes in a chic, papery coat. Like any hard-boiled dame worth her smelling salts, however, withering Sophie guards a mushy heart. "Anatoly knew the details of me," she gushes, when her dishy Russian private eye suitor remembers her fussy coffee order to the letter. Even at 31, Sophie gets goose bumps when she's jittery and is peevish with her two-year-old nephew. She's petty and rams through small talk. She is likeably damaged.
Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss is audiobook four in the Sophie Katz mystery series, though each volume stands alone as easy, breezy escapism, so you can skip downloading sequentially. This is foremost a whodunit and author Kyra Davis plots Lip Gloss around the stagy killing of blue-blood Oscar; his creaking Victorian mansion, snapped up by Sophie; her bad egg ex-husband, and current realtor, Scott; his chilly swizzle stick girlfriend, Venus; and the quirky Specter Society, which holds séances to channel "disembodied spirits".
Gabra Zackman is the hypnotic narrator of Lip Gloss. As Sophie, she creeps a scratchy world-weariness into her inflections, hinting that the trademark Katz sass might be half-invented. Zackman instinctively connects with her characters, wiring Scott's boyish charisma to a chatty pace while attaching terse Anatoly to gnashing pauses. It's risky for an audiobook narrator to spin through nearly two dozen characters plus a plot hooked to the paranormal to claim believability. But Zackman teases out subtle voice distinctions and accents (Italian, Russian, Yiddish) until the prospect of communing with the dead seems slightly more believable than Sophie landing a fully renovated, three-bedroom house in Ashbury Heights. Prime real estate, after all, trumps ghosts. Nita Rao
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Sophie Katz Rules!
an amusing listen, in keeping with the series