SEX and the City rebooted this new novel is definitely not. That said, SATC and Lipstick Jungle author Candace Bushnell’s latest New York City saga is entertaining escapism into a world few mere mortals ever glimpse.
Central character Pandemonia James ‘PJ’ Wallis is (precisely like Bushnell herself) a writer of fantastical female fiction – phenomenally popular chick-lit that has enraptured the male movers and shakers of Hollywood. PJ’s on-paper creation, Monica, is America’s darling – a good-time, can-do, party-hard gal whose life is the envy of book-buyers by the million. Monica has it all: beauty, success, confidence, wealth and a blissful, apparently charmed Manhattan existence – and so too, by extension, has her alter ego PJ.
Being constantly compared with a too-good-to-be-true fictitious invention is not all it’s cracked up to be, however; after years of living in her imaginary heroine’s shadow, PJ has had more than enough of never quite measuring up. Other projects beckon, and the public’s relentless obsession with Monica is a roadblock PJ is desperate to clear.
Alas, breaking free of the Monica-mania isn’t as easy as typing “THE END”, she discovers to her horror, with a publisher, a studio and an entire country baying for further instalments of their idyllic dream girl. What will it take to spring an increasingly frustrated PJ out of her self-made Monica trap?
Readers expecting SATC’s Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda won’t find too many familiar faces in this revisiting of NYC’s cocktail-club scene, populated as it is with franchised versions of Samantha at her most outrageous surrounded by actors, publicists and a suitably oily celebrity chef. While Killing Monica lacks the witty repartee of the Bushnell-inspired HBO TV series, its plot takes all the kinks and dips of an Olympic diving routine before arriving at a genuinely unpredictable and satisfying – if perhaps slightly hurried – climax.