Enter Olivia Joules: fearless, dazzling, independent beauty-journalist turned master-spy -- a new heroine for the twenty-first century. In Miami for a face-cream launch, she spots Pierre Ferramo across a room. Dangerously charismatic and undeniably gorgeous, with impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth and exotic international homes, he seems almost ...Read MoreEnter Olivia Joules: fearless, dazzling, independent beauty-journalist turned master-spy -- a new heroine for the twenty-first century. In Miami for a face-cream launch, she spots Pierre Ferramo across a room. Dangerously charismatic and undeniably gorgeous, with impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth and exotic international homes, he seems almost too good to be true. But what if Ferramo is actually a major terrorist bent on destruction, hiding behind a smokescreen of fine wines, yachts and actresses slash models? Or is it all just a product of Olivia's overactive imagination? From the white heat of Miami to the implants of LA, the glittering waters of the Caribbean to the deserts of Arabia, Olivia Joules pits herself against the forces of terror armed with a hatpin, razor-sharp wits and a very special underwired bra. Helen Fielding has written a contemporary and utterly unputdownable thriller de luxe. 'A Bond-style romp. The thrills come thick and fast. Olivia is entirely successful as a heroine because she is witty, kind, entertaining, occasionally accident-prone, and has Bridget's warm intelligence and humorous insight in spades' Wendy Holden, Literary Review 'Shimmers and glares with wit, sophistication and humanity. Hurrah for Fielding!' Helen Brown, Independent on SundayRead Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-06-07 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., Chlo? 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. (June 8) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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