"A racy and hard-to-put-down piece of neo-noir."--Washington Post
A modern-day noir featuring a twisty cat-and-mouse chase, this dark debut thriller tells the story of a woman who makes a living taking down terrible men...then finds herself in over her head and with blood on her hands. The only way out? Pull off one final con.
Jo's job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles--handsy Hollywood producers, adulterous actors, corrupt cops. Sure, she likes the money she's making, which comes in handy for the debt she is paying off, but it's also a chance to take back power for the women of the city. Eager to prove herself to her coworker Lou and their enigmatic boss, known only as the Lady Upstairs, Jo takes on bigger and riskier jobs.
When one of her targets is murdered, both the Lady Upstairs and the LAPD have Jo in their sights. Desperate to escape the consequences of her failed job, she decides to take on just one more sting--bringing down a rising political star. It's her biggest con yet--and she will do it behind the Lady's back, freeing both herself and Lou. But Jo soon learns that Lou and the Lady have secrets of their own, and that no woman is safe when there is a life-changing payout on the line.
A delicious debut thriller crackling with wit and an unforgettable feminist voice, The Lady Upstairs is a chilling and endlessly surprising take on female revenge.
Jo, the femme fatale narrator of Sutton's intriguing if flawed debut, is in debt to her employer, the shadowy operator of the Lady Upstairs' Staffing Agency, which is a front for a lucrative blackmail operation that targets rich, despicable, adulterous men. Colleagues Robert Jackal, her sometime paramour, and Lou, her beguiling female lover, lend support as Jo strives to work off her debt. Alas, Jo's plans unravel with fatal results when a naive recruit of hers fails to entrap a sleazy Hollywood movie producer, and Jo winds up under investigation by the LAPD. Worried that the Lady Upstairs might try to eliminate her, Jo hatches a plot to entrap a mayoral candidate and use the money to escape the Lady forever. But her confidence is misplaced, and nothing is quite as it seems. Though the plot stalls midway through and splutters to a predictable conclusion, Sutton's stylish, edgy prose and strong female characters will delight fans of American noir. Hopefully, Jo will be back soon.