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Sex, Murder and a Double Latte: 09/21/22
Sex, Murder and a Double Latte by Kyra Davis and Gabra Zackman (Narrator) (2005) is the first book in the Sophie Katz murder mystery series. Set in San Francisco during the real estate downturn it's the tale of a mystery author who sees a pattern in some recent celebrity deaths and has come to realize the murderer is now targeting her. If only she can get the SFPD to believe her!
The initial book really should be called Sex, Murder, and a Frappuccino because of Sophie's addiction to them and her loyalty to Starbucks. She spends much of her time in the book either drinking them, trying to get others to drink them, or wishing that she could be drinking them.
Despite the silly Starbucks detail, Sophie is an interesting person. Her overall personality and her relationship with her hairdresser reminds me of the character duo from the Life Coach mystery series, but with a San Francisco perspective, rather than the Hamptons. Sophie also brings to the novel a mixed heritage, having a Black father and a Jewish mother.
The mystery builds on the trope of the killer who is recreating fictional murder scenes and using them against their creators. Before Sophie is targeted a rapper and a movie director are both murdered. Usually this trope bugs me but Sophie is enough of a cynic to not fall prey instantly. Instead she tries to thwart the murderer and does manage to a few times, forcing their hand.
That said, an observant reader will be able to spot the murderer well before Sophie does. There is a strong red herring to confuse the issue but if you pay attention to another mystery trope — one that usually takes multiple books to play out — you'll be able to tell the difference between the murderer and the herring.
The second book is Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights (2006).