From Publishers Weekly
In Maines's delicious spy spoof debut, wide-eyed linguist Nikki Lanier joins the confidential side of Carrie Mae, a cosmetics giant like Mary Kay or Avon, whose charity foundation uses covert means to help women. Nikki doesn't bat an eyelash as she undergoes rigorous training at the company's academy in Santa Clarita, Calif., where female spies are stylishly equipped with gizmos like pepper spray perfume, flash grenade lipsticks, mini-scanner compacts, knockout breath mints, acid nail polish, plastic explosive foundation, and stiletto stilettos. With Valerie Robinson, a jaded pro, Nikki embarks on her first mission, to rescue Lawan Chinnawat, one of the loudest voices protesting the sex trade that flourishes throughout Asia, who's been abducted. The plot takes a few surprise twists before reaching the exciting climax. Maines deftly combines humor with action in this fashion-forward thriller, which will remind many of such TV shows as Charlie's Angels
, and Heroes
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With a linguistics degree and no other prospects, Nikki Lanier takes a job with the philanthropic arm of Carrie Mae, a cosmetics company, to get out of her mother’s house. She doesn’t expect the training to involve target practice, intelligence techniques, and identifying explosives disguised as make-up. The Carrie Mae Foundation is actually a network of secret operatives charged with protecting women around the world. Nikki passes her training with flying colors. Her boss, the enigmatic Mrs. M, then pairs Nikki with flinty agent Valerie Robinson and sends them to Thailand to find the missing director of a women’s clinic. Mix in double agents, human trafficking, and repeated run-ins with a charismatic stranger who’s hiding something, and Maines turns in a tale full of surprises. This debut novelist may lack polish, but she makes up for it with a clever premise in this madcap romantic adventure that is as humorous as it is action-packed. --Aleksandra Walker