Her name is Jo Donavan, widow of renowned author Hugo Donavan, who has ,in the three years since his death,become the head of a top literary agency in New York. Her climb to success is not without strife, as she must work along side Harriet Peagoody, a hold over from the days of Jo's mentor Molly whose taste in books is impeccable yet not very flexible to the changing times.
There's also a former member of the agency who is still angry about his ouster and delights in spreading his ill will towards Jo online and a new assistant,Jean-Paul, who appears to be nurturing a crush on her.
Despite her everyday troubles, Jo is rather content with her current life until a determined writer confronts her in the street and demands that she be the one to get his work published. Jo is used to the offbeat antics of wannabe authors but the extreme determination of this man,who earns the sarcastic nickname Sam Spade, starts to become a major threat to her work and life:
Feeling that any look into her life with Hugo is a complete invasion of their privacy, she resists for awhile but with word of a less than respectable biographer(think Kitty Kelley) also deviling into a book that would dishonor her husband's memory even more,Jo reluctantly agrees to Teddy's questions and queries into Hugo's world.
While Jo knows full well about her husband's reputation as a ladies man before their marriage and the whispers from others regarding their age difference, she clings strongly to the belief that her bond with Hugo was no less than perfect. Going through some of Hugo's papers and learning what Teddy has found out about him without her, Jo has to face the truth behind the secrets and lies that she's used to keep her version of her life with Hugo as picture perfect as possible:
The police become involved not only due to the cyber attack but take an even closer look into the situation when a major client of Jo's is found dead in her own apartment. While plenty of personal and professional friends flock to Jo's side to offer their support, she begins to feel pretty unbalanced yet determined not to crumble under pressure.
Another man enters her life,this one a former love interest named Tommy Cullen,who is now a police detective assigned to her case. Conflict of interest aside, Jo reexamines her past relationship with Tommy and wonders if she may have been mistaken about her real feelings about him both then and now:
With a wide array of suspects and ever mounting threats to her life,work and friends, Jo has to muster up all of her own underestimated stamina to find the person targeting her as well as discover who Sam Spade really is.
Barbara Rogan blends witty insider knowledge with a engaging character study of her leading lady,who must resolve a few personal mysteries of her making. The plot line is peopled with relatable characters who are more than just supports for her lead to lean upon and I can honestly say that this story had me turning pages at a fast and furious pace. I finished this book last night and could hardly wait to start spreading the good word for this riveting suspense story.
A Dangerous Fiction will be out and about by July 25 at a bookseller near you and if you're searching for a smart and snappy summer read, this is the one to watch for,folks: