Until a few days ago graduate student Melanie “Mel” Prescott’s most pressing thought was where she would come up with the money to buy the latest Givenchy creation, have her daily dose of Starbucks and decadent chocolate and pay the rent on her meager salary. That was until she ran into her old flame Todd while dog walking and he presented her with a pair of Givenchy shoes and an invitation to dinner at his house. What’s a girl to do? The shoebox also contains a coded clue and the message “Play or die”. Mel and Todd spend part of the evening trying to decipher the code but one thing leads to another and suddenly Mel finds herself sleeping with Todd for old times sake so to speak.
The next morning Mel wakes up to find Todd deader than a doornail and she is suddenly on the run for her life. Mel has been chosen to be the “Target” in an Internet game that someone has brought to life. Play Survive Win, these becomes Mel’s goals. She is given a clue in code and must figure out the code and the message to get to the next clue and code and she must do this before the “Assassin” takes her out like he did Todd.
Enter the mysterious Matthew Stryker, who Mel first mistakes as the assassin. Stryker has been chosen as Mel’s protector and it’s a job he takes very seriously especially after his first Target is killed when he takes the game as a joke. He’s not about to let it happen twice. If he can just convince Mel that he is indeed on her side that is.
Julie Kenner has created an action-packed thriller that will keep the reader guessing as the players travel the New York area searching for the clues that will keep them alive and one step ahead of the assassin. Surprisingly enough Ms. Kenner has added just enough romance in this book to keep things interesting.
Many readers will find the circumstances that bring the main players together a little far fetched perhaps. Not being a gamer myself I found the gaming terms a bit confusing in the beginning of the book. I really enjoyed trying to figure out the clues with Mel and Stryker and going along with them through the streets of NYC.
I think Ms. Kenner has developed a solid start to what looks to be an interesting series and I look forward to the next installment. Romance fans should enjoy this book, as there is a bit more romance than one finds in the typical chick lit or woman’s fiction book. Mel and Stryker develop a very interesting chemistry that I hope Ms. Kenner will develop further in future volumes of this series. The Givenchy Code is an entertaining thrill ride to start out your summer. Don’t miss this one.