From Publishers Weekly
Considering the number of writers who've tried, and generally failed, to do plummy Bridget Jones one better, it only makes sense that Fielding should take a vacation from the genre she spawned and seek (sort of) greener pastures. Her new inspiration? Think Ian Fleming. Fielding's ridiculous, delicious, wildly improbable plot goes something like this: freelance journalist Olivia Joules ("as in the unit of kinetic energy"), formerly Rachel Pixley (her whole family got run over when she was 14), gets bumped from the Sunday Times
's international coverage down to the style pages thanks to the titular imagination (e.g., a story about a "cloud of giant, fanged locusts pancaking down on Ethiopia"). In between ducking twittering PR reps and airheaded blondes at a Miami face cream launch party, she uncovers what looks like an al-Qaeda plot, headed by a dreamy Osama bin Laden look-alike, who is either (1) a terrorist, (2) an international playboy, (3) a serial killer or (4) all of the above. Languid, mysterious Pierre Feramo returns Olivia's interest, and thus begins an around-the-world adventure that has plucky Olivia eventually recruited by MI6. In addition to the fun spy gear (e.g., Chloé shades fitted with a nerve-agent dagger) there are kidnappings, bomb plots and scuba-diving disasters. Olivia is slim, confident and accomplished; ostensibly, she's "painstakingly erased all womanly urges to question her shape, looks, role in life," etc. But she still has her bumbling Jonesian moments, and though she may not need a man, she'll get one in the end. What's wrong with the book: two-dimensional characters, dangling plot threads, the questionable taste of al-Qaeda bombings in an escapist, comic spy novel. What's right: girl-power punch, page-turning brio and a new heroine to root for.
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More than anything, freelance journalist Olivia Joules wants to write serious news stories, but because of her "vivid" imagination, Olivia instead finds herself relegated by her editors to the style section. While in Miami covering the launch of a new face cream, Olivia meets mysterious, sexy Pierre Feramo, the scientist responsible for developing the cream, and once again Olivia's imagination takes over. Is Pierre really a cosmetics-developing, movie-producing international playboy or could he be an al-Qaeda agent in disguise? Olivia, who knows a thing or two about changing one's identity, can't decide if her suspicions about Pierre are correct or merely a product of her fertile imagination. What is even worse is that if Olivia turns out to be right about Pierre, it means she might be falling in love with a terrorist! The author of the phenomenally popular Bridget Jones's Diary
(1998) gifts readers with another endearing, irrepressible heroine, who, armed with her lists and survival kit, discovers in this deliciously fun novel that she has a natural talent for spying. Fielding's latest has all the ingredients of a good thriller--exotic locales, a resourceful heroine, intrigue, and a touch of sexy romance--but the book is also electric with Fielding's wry wit, and the combination is simply delightful. John CharlesCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved