"A cute, quirky, witty tale of a very unconventional group of close-knit friends."
Reviewed by Kay Quintin
Posted May 11, 2010
Contemporary Chick Lit | Thriller
Successful mystery writer Sophie Katz is always looking for
danger and attempting to solve a crime. Sophie's live-in
boyfriend, the tall, dark Russian lover, Anatoly Darinsky,
is an investigator. Together they are knee deep in a
personal investigation of attempted murder of their friend,
Dena Lopiano. The bullet in her back may have been intended
for Sophie or their friend, Mary Ann, who is absorbed in
her wedding plans.
Being forced to entertain the thought of wearing a peach
bridesmaid dress at the wedding keeps Sophie's sister,
Leah, on the run as potential wedding coordinator to change
the dress color to black. Little does Sophie know the
little black dress might ultimately come to her rescue in
the end. Sophie's quirky friends, including her drop-dead
gorgeous (but gay) hair stylist friend, Marcus, all attempt
to solve the mystery. Of course, the fact that Dena is
owner of an upscale sex shop just adds to the mix for
attempted murder. Sophie's goal is to solve the mystery and
save the wedding.
As another Sophie Katz novel, VOWS, VENDETTAS & A LITTLE
BLACK DRESS is a cute, quirky and witty tale of a very
unconventional group of close knit friends. Ditzy to an
endearing lunatic for friends, she still loves them all.
The mystery weaves in many directions with the suspects
growing by the minute. If you enjoy an amusing and colorful
story, this is the book for you. The read is fast with
gripping but funny suspense. I loved Sophie's devious
Overjoyed at Maryanne's engagement, amateur sleuth Sophie
Katz can't wait for the wedding vows and party toasts to
begin. But then Dena—best friend, bridesmaid and all-around
vixen—is mysteriously shot just after the announcement.
Leave this to the authorities? No way. Dena may never walk
again, and Sophie vows to marry her fists with the
Problem is, the number of suspects is off the charts—from
jaded lovers to anti-free-lovers to just plain old haters.
Dena's made plenty of enemies thanks to her popular sex
shop—and, yes, she's no saint—but really, who deserves to
With an überlogical almost boyfriend condemning her
vigilante quest, and a wedding planner going vicariously
bridezilla over the dream princess wedding, Sophie's barely
thinking straight. But if she can keep her cool (and avoid
all errant taffeta), she just might nab her man and save
the (wedding) day.
ExcerptSunday: May 6th, 10:00 PM
Like most people I have two families. The family I was born
into and the family of friends that I’ve chosen for myself.
That’s normal. It also shouldn’t surprise you to learn that
my family is sort of crazy because that’s exactly what
everybody else says about their own family. I mean really,
telling people that your family is on the whacky side is
right up there with confessing to being moody right before
your period. It’s so commonplace it’s barely worth mentioning.
So if your family’s like mine and you don’t want to spend
your life surrounded by head cases there is only one clear
course of action. Choose sane friends.
I didn’t take that route. All my friends are completely mad.
You wouldn’t be able to get them institutionalized or
anything but suggesting that they are in any way normal
would be, well, hyperbolic. I don’t mind though. They’re my
family of choice and although they do occasionally make me
crazy I really do love them, eccentricities and all.
Jason Beck is the perfect example of this. Right now he’s
standing across the room from me. I can see the fluorescent
lights reflecting off the water trapped in his hair,
evidence of the swim he hurriedly abandoned earlier in the
evening. His goatee is pointing toward the ugly grey carpet
like an arrow and his white skin is even paler than normal.
I didn’t exactly choose Jason. He’s one of my friend Dena’s
two boyfriends (yes, I know. We’ll get to that later). That
sort of makes Jason a stepbrother. A
stepbrother. He never manages to achieve more than wannabe
status because he isn’t brave enough to openly defy
authority when doing so is risky, he has never found a way
to make the transition from human being to blood-sucker
despite his insistence that Anne Rice’s early novels are
really non-fiction and his musings are only philosophical if
you’re either drunk or stoned. Still, he is…interesting. One
of these days the psychiatric community might be able to
come up with a more succinct and scientific definition for
whatever Jason is. But the reason he’s become part of my
extended family is because he is by far the most endearing
lunatic I have ever met in my life. It’s his good heart that
has brought him into this room tonight.
Then there’s my hairstylist, Marcus. God do I love me some
Marcus. Of all my friends he’s probably the least crazy one.
He’s intelligent, talented, funny as hell and drop dead
gorgeous. With his brilliantly white teeth, smooth mocha
skin, perfectly groomed locs…I swear if he wasn’t gay I
would have jumped him years ago. But he is gay. Years ago he
jumped right out of the closet and onto the first float of
San Francisco’s Pride parade. So instead of sensual rubdowns
I have to settle for marginally frisky conditioning
treatments. Lately he’s been calling me J-Lodad because he
thinks that (thanks to my Black and Eastern European-Jewish
ancestry) I look like a cross between Soledad O’Brian and
J-Lo. That’s one of the man reasons why I’m willing to
settle for the platonic scalp massages: when I’m stressed or
sad Marcus makes me laugh.
But not tonight. Tonight he’s facing away from me, a five
month old People magazine in his hands, just one of the many
out of date periodicals laying around the waiting room.
He’s not reading it of course. He’s just needs
something to hold onto while he waits for relief from his
darkest fears…or the confirmation of them.
On the other hand Anatoly’s current focus is completely on
me. Anatoly is….well he’s my tall, dark Russian lover, my
boyfriend, my nemesis, maybe even my soul-mate. He lives
with me and we are completely dedicated to one another…until
we have one of our knock-down-drag-out fights. Then he
storms out (or I kick him out) and at that moment we both
know that it is totally and completely over.
Except it’s never totally and completely over because he’s
Anatoly and I’m Sophie. We can’t stay apart because, to use
Anatoly’s words, neither of us can claim ownership of the
other and yet in some odd way I belong to him and he to me.
You can’t stay away from something that belongs to you for
any real length of time. Someone else might try to steal it.
But no one would dare try to steal him away tonight. Tonight
he holds my hand firmly, his body’s leaning toward me
letting the world know that he’s ready to catch me if I
collapsed into sobs, ready to hold me back if I lash out at
the wrong person. He seems not to have noticed the hum of
the fluorescent lights above although it’s exactly the kind
of noise that usually annoys him He hasn’t glanced at
the television mounted in the corner of the room that’s
tuned to ESPN. Tonight his attentiveness and
responsiveness can only be equaled by my need.
And to my left, sitting rigidly in what has to be the most
worn chair in the hospital waiting room is Mary Ann. Mary
Ann is totally pretty, sweet, honest, loyal and totally,
totally ditzy. She’s sort of an idiot savant. Her genius
lies in her ability to make the homeliest face look Vogue
worthy. She spent years being the favored cosmetician at the
Neiman Marcus’ Lancome counter and now she makes quite a
good living freelancing. So what if she thinks euthanasia is
a creative way of referring to the young people in China?
The woman can make the biggest zit disappear with the sweep
of a powder brush. She’s like the David Copperfield of
And now she has a ring that is as impressive as her talent.
A heart-shaped ruby on a platinum band given to her by the
man who currently has his arm draped over her stiff
shoulders. If my relationship with Anatoly is tempestuous
Mary Ann’s romance with Monty checks in at a continual 75
degrees with a gentle breeze and only the lightest
precipitation. I don’t often envy her because I do like
stormy weather but every once in a while I catch myself
wondering if it might be better to live in a calmer
Of course she hasn’t been calm tonight. Only a few hours ago
she was screaming.
Monty had tried to sooth her but the only one who has the
power to truly put her at ease is Dena. Dena is Mary Ann’s
cousin and, as I mentioned earlier, my friend. My best
friend. She’s a little Sicilian spitfire with a fierce
intellect and a fondness for bondage wear. It would be hard
to find a cute, available, straight guy in San Francisco who
hasn’t worn Dena’s handcuffs at least once. Of course it’s
hard to find a cute, available straight guy in San Francisco
period so perhaps that’s not saying much.
Dena understands me like no one else. She has fought for me
in both the figurative and literal sense of the word. When
I’m tempted to wallow in self-pity Dena’s always there to
give me a swift kick in the ass. When I fly off the handle
Dena helps me see logic…and that’s no easy feat. My feelings
about logic are tepid at best. In turn I understand, and
never judge, her proud promiscuity. I know her strength and
I am deeply familiar with her fears. I know everything about
As of tonight I even know the color of her blood. It’s the
exact same shade as the ruby on Mary Ann’s finger.
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