Tour’s Books Blog

February 15, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Aphrodisiac by Allyson Roy

In Aphrodisiac, sex therapist Saylor Oz loses a long time friend, genius, aspiring poet and all around oddball, Gwen Applebee, to an apparent suicide. She’s not really buying it.  The suicide poem, one of Gwen’s typical efforts filled with allusions to ancient myth, is obviously meant for her – “the golden priestess of sa-zi-ga”, but was Gwen sending her a message not saying goodbye? Unfortunately, police don’t see it that way. And the fact that Gwen, a fashionista, dies wearing the ultimate fashion faux pas, a fanny pack, isn’t proof of murder. Saylor begs to differ, or at least convinces herself she does, and with best friend Benita ‘Binnie’ Morales starts  investigating.

As soon as Saylor and Binni start asking questions, Saylor is threatened – produce the tablet with the formula for the ultimate aphrodisaic in one week or else. The race begins – to try and find the tablet and stay alive. There are some interesting twists and turns and the Manhattan backdrop is excellent. Still, at 357 pages it’s just too long for the plot, so I found myself getting impatient and losing interest. The core characters – Saylor Oz, roommate and best friend Binni, would be love interest Eldridge ‘Ridge’ Mace, and flaky relative Aunt Lana – an aficionado of nude group therapy, have enough substance to make them believable and likable.

The book has the feel of a Janet Evanovich clone, and it does have much in common with her Stephanie Plum novels, at least the earlier ones, but there is a more complex, if barely unbelievable, mystery at the bottom of Aphrodisiac. For a first novel, it’s a remarkably good effort, if a little too long to really hold the reader’s attention through the lightweight mystery.

I enjoyed the book enough that I would definitely buy the next one.

My grade: B-

Who would enjoy this book: If you like Janet Evanvoich, Kate Collins or Lori Avocato you’ll like this.  My rating is PG-17

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