Michelle R. 's Reviews > The Fashion Police

The Fashion Police by Sibel Hodge
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's review
Jun 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: rar, mystery
Read in March, 2011

(Originally published at Red Adept Reviews. Please note author states there is a new edition out since the one I read, and that it clears up errors. I cannot vouch for this.)

I obtained The Fashion Police, by Sibel Hodge, as a Review Copy submitted to "Red Adept Reviews."

Overall: 3 3/4 Stars

Plot/Storyline: 4 Stars

The story followed Amber Fox - gotta love the name - in her work as an investigator at her ex's insurance company. The primary story here concerned her investigation at a fashion house after designer, Umberto Fandango, disappears.

The story flowed nicely and I kept reading along fairly contentedly. It was a light read, but not so light that it floated away. There were some quite funny moments and lines, with Amber at her best when she's interacting with others. ("Is that how you measure your job satisfaction, by the amount of people who want to kill you?")

There were a couple coincidences that were way too ... coincidental though. One in particular involving Elvis, the other - well, that would be a spoiler. I'm just saying, there are portions best read with a very willing suspension of disbelief. Some of the names are also eye-rollers - I predict you'll know them when you come to them.

What was really nice was both men in Amber's life tended to trust her to navigate through some very dangerous waters without feeling the need to coddle her unless she specifically expressed a need for T.L.C. I always enjoy when a woman in a story with a lot of action doesn't have to contend with a man, who is probably also in a dangerous job, trying to treat her like she's made out of spun glass.

Characters: 4 Stars

Amber came across as a suitable heroine for this type of breezy book. She was intelligent and independent and capable of a good quip now and again. Her personality made the book. I felt like I knew her pretty well, and had a really good sense of her personality. Secondary characters included her ex, Brad and her current boyfriend, Romeo Lopez. Her conversations with Romeo flowed very nicely, and he cooks, so yay. It took me a while for me to warm up to - or even understand Brad - but by the end of the book I enjoyed him too. I liked the way several of the characters interacted.

Writing style: 3 3/4 Stars

There was a passage in which Ms. Hodge tries to pack exposition in dialogue by characters telling each other things they already know. It always comes across artificial and tends to remind the reader that there is an author there pulling the strings. Better to keep these things out of quotation marks - the single AND the double ones. It only stood out because the author was so competent and better elsewhere. It was also easier to forgive for that reason.

Ms. Hodge seems to me to be a natural story-teller and, issues aside, this seems like a genre that she seems fairly skilled in and her writer's voice works well with the mix of chick-lit, mystery, comedy, and romance.

Editing: 3 1/2 Stars

While the book seemed polished for the most part, there was a persistent enough issue with homophones and close-but-no-cigars words to be an undeniable distraction. Just off the top of my head I recall "to" instead of "too," "site" instead of "sight," "tick" instead of "tic."


Note: The author is clearly very British and some cultural references were unknown to me, such as the Honey Monster and Loyd (misspelled as Lloyd in the book) Grossman. (A cereal mascot and a gentleman who was born in Boston, lives in England, and speaks with both places giving him a unique dialect.) I didn't mind this at all; I felt like it was part of Amber's voice, but this was a recurrent factor that sent me on mini-lessons.

This was also reflected in the choice to use single quotes as opposed to double quotation marks (` rather than ") -- this was valid and not an issue, but I wanted to make note of it.

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