Publisher/Date: Xlibris Corp., Dec. 2011
Genre(s): Romance, Suspense
Remember Alice’s much-hyped chart used on The L Word to graph relationships between her friends and the women they knew?
In reading Ericka K. F. Simpson’s latest novel, JAZZY LADIES PRODUCTIONS: NOTHING IS AS SWEET AS IT LOOKS, it needs its own chart to keep up with all the characters and storylines.
And you will want to track every single hookup or association in Simpson’s ambitious work, cause it’s just that engrossing.
First, begin with Dionne, an open mic poet who has several female admirers and desires a real relationship; her best friend, Vincent, a hardcore playboy who can’t give up the women even for the one he really wants; and Dionne’s live-in, college-age niece following in her aunt’s lesbian footsteps.
Then there’s Logan, the MC at Dionne’s open-mic events, who has her own crew: the forever funny Beverly, rowdy realtor Logan, and conflicted Sonja torn between two women.
And finally, Lena, a Virginia teen taken in by her aunt, Vanessa, after her father and grandmother pass away. Her older cousins, Gabby and Mercedes, show her the ropes as sorority girls and help her acclimate to Middle Georgia life.
In the center of all these connections are Jazmine and Karen, life partners and owners of Jazzy Ladies Productions, a local lesbian entertainment company. They host the open mic nights that Dionne performs at, that Logan hosts, and that bring all the ladies (and Vincent) together in love, sex and friendship. But Karen and Jaz – with pasts to run from – also have more sinister links to one character in particular.
Can you guess which one?
At 576 pages, Simpson’s Jazzy Ladies Productions is a big but pleasurable read. The pages fly by as you get into each plot, and you’ll want to see how all the ends tie together.
Simpson, as always, captivates.
Reviewed June 2012