Last week, after a slight (okay, six week) reading hiatus, I guiltily reached for my pile of advanced reading copies, looking for something that would entertain and delight, without asking too much of my poor out-of-use brain. I picked up Monkey Business by Kathryn Ledson, and boy am I glad I did. Much like the hypercolour cover, Ledson’s latest proved to be the perfect pick-me-up for my greyer-than-usual grey matter. Monkey Business is the second book in the Erica Jewell series (a series I now realise I heard about at this year’s Romance Writers of Australia conference, but only just now made the connection with) and, while the series is very closely linked, the book does not suffer from being read in isolation. Having said that, after reading Monkey Business, I now want Kathryn to hurry up and write more books so I can devour them.
As you may have guessed by the series name, Monkey Business (and it’s predecessor, Rough Diamond) follows the exploits of Erica Jewell, a smart, precocious and utterly real heroine through her adventures working with the secret undercover agency “The Team”. Her latest assignment begins rather innocuously – team leader and part-time lover, Jack Jones, asks Erica to do some background checks on a new recruit, the unsavoury Mick Jansen. Erica dutifully reports back that she’s not sure he can be trusted, and then thinks she’s heard the last of it. A few days later, after some beneath-the-bedsheets action with Jack, a drunken admission of love, and several days of radio silence from Jack, Erica receives a crackly phone call from Joe, Jack’s partner, on which she hears only the words “M.I.A”. With little knowledge of the boys’ mission, and even less skills, Erica jumps on a plane to San Sebastian to save them, with only her love for Jack, a couple days of personal leave and an empty packet of tampons as weapons.
What follows is a dramatic, suspenseful and uproariously funny read, lead by a heroine that is as hapless as she is endearing. While Erica may not be the kick-ass heroine readers are used to seeing in romantic suspense, she is utterly believable and often acts in ways in which I imagine I would. I found myself cheering all the louder for her small successes as they are so hard won. In addition to humour and suspense, the author has written a sizzling romance that, with the book’s conclusion, leaves the reader begging for more.
Bravo, Ms Ledson, on a brilliant piece of truly funny Aussie romantic suspense. Oh, and thank you for breaking my romance reading dry spell – now please write another!
You can find a copy of Kathryn Ledson’s Monkey Business here