Title: CHERRY PIE
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Author: Leigh Redhead
Edition released: 2007
Genre: Crime Fiction
Reviewed by: Karen Chisholm
CHERRY PIE is the third book in the Simone Kirsch series, which takes a slightly darker, more edgy direction than the first two.
Working to raise the cash for the gadgetry needed to start her own Private Investigator business, Simone is sidetracked by a desperate phone message from a childhood friend who subsequently disappears. Andi has only recently moved to Melbourne as well, she works as a restaurant as a waitress, and is studying journalism. Andi's already been in touch with Simone asking for her help with a major story that she thinks she's unearthed, but Simone unfortunately wasn't sure she had time - now she doesn't have much choice but to try to find Andi and that means trying to find out what this major story was.
Deep in the world of the celebrity chef, there are some hysterical scenes in super-trendy restaurant Jouissance where Andi worked, with Simone and Chloe her ever "helpful" sidekick with the large boobs and the outrageous mouth, whilst Simone tries to work out what it is that Andi was on the trail of. Simone is driven to Sydney eventually, firstly in hiding after some serious threats and after getting well in the road of an ongoing police investigation, but she then finds herself in an increasingly intense series of contacts with a big note developer and money man behind the restaurant.
There's still a strong sense of fun and hilarity - especially in Simone's trusty sidekick and stripping entrepreneur friend Chloe. But there's something a bit more in CHERRY PIE than just the sex industry, the charging around, the scraping through by the skin of her teeth and the ongoing romantic tensions. Simone's starting to strongly question what she's doing. She's starting to question why she puts so many of the people that she loves in jeopardy and she's starting to stretch some friendships. She's trying to stay faithful to the absent Sean - her lover from Rubdown, she's showing a level of "grown up" that's really very endearing.
Ultimately there's a bit of a twitch in the tail of CHERRY PIE - we're definitely moving from totally light, funny and riotous into something slightly edgier and harder. Both Peepshow and Rubdown were great books, CHERRY PIE is hinting at an even more interesting future.