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A modern-day noir featuring a twisty cat-and-mouse chase, this dark debut thriller tells the story of a a woman who makes a living taking down terrible men...then finds herself in over her head and with blood on her hands. The only way out? Pull off one final con. Jo's job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles--handsy Hollywood producers, adulterous actors, A modern-day noir featuring a twisty cat-and-mouse chase, this dark debut thriller tells the story of a a woman who makes a living taking down terrible men...then finds herself in over her head and with blood on her hands. The only way out? Pull off one final con. Jo's job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles--handsy Hollywood producers, adulterous actors, corrupt cops. Sure, she likes the money she's making, which comes in handy for the debt she is paying off, but it's also a chance to take back power for the women of the city. Eager to prove herself to her coworker Lou and their enigmatic boss, known only as the Lady Upstairs, Jo takes on bigger and riskier jobs. When one of her targets is murdered, both the Lady Upstairs and the LAPD have Jo in their sights. Desperate to escape the consequences of her failed job, she decides to take on just one more sting--bringing down a rising political star. It's her biggest con yet--and she will do it behind the Lady's back, freeing both herself and Lou. But Jo soon learns that Lou and the Lady have secrets of their own, and that no woman is safe when there is a life-changing payout on the line. A delicious debut thriller crackling with wit and an unforgettable feminist voice, The Lady Upstairs is a chilling and endlessly surprising take on female revenge.


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A modern-day noir featuring a twisty cat-and-mouse chase, this dark debut thriller tells the story of a a woman who makes a living taking down terrible men...then finds herself in over her head and with blood on her hands. The only way out? Pull off one final con. Jo's job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles--handsy Hollywood producers, adulterous actors, A modern-day noir featuring a twisty cat-and-mouse chase, this dark debut thriller tells the story of a a woman who makes a living taking down terrible men...then finds herself in over her head and with blood on her hands. The only way out? Pull off one final con. Jo's job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles--handsy Hollywood producers, adulterous actors, corrupt cops. Sure, she likes the money she's making, which comes in handy for the debt she is paying off, but it's also a chance to take back power for the women of the city. Eager to prove herself to her coworker Lou and their enigmatic boss, known only as the Lady Upstairs, Jo takes on bigger and riskier jobs. When one of her targets is murdered, both the Lady Upstairs and the LAPD have Jo in their sights. Desperate to escape the consequences of her failed job, she decides to take on just one more sting--bringing down a rising political star. It's her biggest con yet--and she will do it behind the Lady's back, freeing both herself and Lou. But Jo soon learns that Lou and the Lady have secrets of their own, and that no woman is safe when there is a life-changing payout on the line. A delicious debut thriller crackling with wit and an unforgettable feminist voice, The Lady Upstairs is a chilling and endlessly surprising take on female revenge.

30 review for The Lady Upstairs

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is gripping, surprisingly entertaining, action packed reading with kickassing, tough, cool heroines tells provocative story with #metoo vibes and quite delicious feminism references. We may proudly announce there is fresh talented author out there about the release her captivating debut novel! Well done dear Halley Sutton who brought an original, different plot and hooked me up at with those first pages. Even though at some parts I get lost my interest just a little bit, she wrapped up the This is gripping, surprisingly entertaining, action packed reading with kickassing, tough, cool heroines tells provocative story with #metoo vibes and quite delicious feminism references. We may proudly announce there is fresh talented author out there about the release her captivating debut novel! Well done dear Halley Sutton who brought an original, different plot and hooked me up at with those first pages. Even though at some parts I get lost my interest just a little bit, she wrapped up the story so well with quite intriguing and clever conclusion. Let’s chat about the plot and meet with our heroines, bad guys and story’s progression: We’re introduced to Joe: our one of kickass, strong, likable heroines, pays her dues, atones for her sins with a risky job she took. She works for Lady Upstairs to punish the ruthless men including corrupted police officers, abuser Hollywood Producers and dirty cheater actors. She seems like a vigilante who brings justice to town. Her coworker Lou gives the orders she took from their mysterious boss. Everything seems going flat and Jo is about to pay her debt to earn her freedom. But she makes a big mistake at her job and one of her targets is found murdered which takes the attention of LAPD and her lovely, vicious and dangerous lady boss. Now her life is at the stake and she needs to accept the biggest con to save herself and coworker from the wrath of her boss. But her new assignment couldn’t be more risky: she needs to take down a dangerous and resourceful politician. Payback is karma’s little sister, both of them are real bitches! Could Jo achieve her mission and save herself from the danger? Lips are sealed. You gotta read it! But I have to admit especially last pages are thrilling, edgy, dazzling, twisty makes you squirm at your seats and forces you turn the pages as fast as you could. Overall: I’m giving four moving, enjoyable, captivating, impressive stars! It was promising and great start! I’m looking forward to read more works of Halley Sutton in near future. Special thanks to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Putnam/ G.P. Putnam’s Sons for sharing this entertaining ARC in exchange my honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bridgett

    A promising debut from Halley Sutton, a gifted new voice of the modern noir. The Lady Upstairs was a timely novel about blackmail, secrets, revenge, desire, and sex. The rotten underbelly of Los Angeles, and its beautiful, famous inhabitants, was exposed in the dark bars and seedy hotels that line so many of her streets. There is something so deliciously satisfying about a group of women working to take down powerful, but vile, men...especially Jo, our femme fatale protagonist. It all ties s A promising debut from Halley Sutton, a gifted new voice of the modern noir. The Lady Upstairs was a timely novel about blackmail, secrets, revenge, desire, and sex. The rotten underbelly of Los Angeles, and its beautiful, famous inhabitants, was exposed in the dark bars and seedy hotels that line so many of her streets. There is something so deliciously satisfying about a group of women working to take down powerful, but vile, men...especially Jo, our femme fatale protagonist. It all ties so beautifully into the #metoo and #savethechildren movements. While I enjoyed Jo's "tough cookie" vibes, I actually enjoyed her more during her moments of vulnerability. The fact it happened so rarely made it all the more poignant. She was definitely the most nuanced character in the story. Lou and Robert, unfortunately, weren't nearly as fleshed out. It felt like a missed opportunity to add more gradation and depth. The story, though it started strong, stuttered about halfway through. We began hearing more of Jo's internal dialogue, often drunken, and it lost the intense urgency which made me want to keep turning pages. The conclusion was predictable, but vaguely satisfying. I recommend this book to those who love the cynicism and moral ambiguity which highlights all that is the noir. By the way, how about that gorgeous cover? 3.5 stars Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    The lady upstairs is the operator of a ring of prostitutes who blackmail their rich marks. The lady’s identity is secret, but it is pretty easy to figure out. Jim Thompson or James M. Cain could have given this plot some bite and menace. Unfortunately, this book is just tacky. It isn’t clever enough to overcome the ickiness of it’s premise. Jo, the protagonist, drinks a lot and has sex a lot, with both her male and female colleagues and marks. She is also in charge of recruiting other women to b The lady upstairs is the operator of a ring of prostitutes who blackmail their rich marks. The lady’s identity is secret, but it is pretty easy to figure out. Jim Thompson or James M. Cain could have given this plot some bite and menace. Unfortunately, this book is just tacky. It isn’t clever enough to overcome the ickiness of it’s premise. Jo, the protagonist, drinks a lot and has sex a lot, with both her male and female colleagues and marks. She is also in charge of recruiting other women to be pimped out. During most of the book nothing interesting happens, then murder ensues, and I didn’t care. Jo (and the author ) try to rationalize this nastiness with some feminist pronouncements. I don’t agree with this definition of feminism. Really, I’m sorry I kept reading. 2.5 stars I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ash

    I had such high hopes for this book. The description sounded like everything I need in my life: women taking down rich men in Hollywood who take advantage of other women. But even though The Lady Upstairs was a fast, fun, easy read, it didn’t live up to my expectations. First, and this is entirely my bad for not paying closer attention to the blurb (which seems to be a running theme in my reviews… oops), I didn’t realize the protagonist, Jo, wasn’t blackmailing rich men on her own. She works for I had such high hopes for this book. The description sounded like everything I need in my life: women taking down rich men in Hollywood who take advantage of other women. But even though The Lady Upstairs was a fast, fun, easy read, it didn’t live up to my expectations. First, and this is entirely my bad for not paying closer attention to the blurb (which seems to be a running theme in my reviews… oops), I didn’t realize the protagonist, Jo, wasn’t blackmailing rich men on her own. She works for a mysterious figure, the titular Lady Upstairs. The Lady Upstairs runs the show and chooses the targets, Jo instructs the girls who sleep with the men they blackmail, Jackal captures the photo and video evidence and collects the blackmail, and Lou oversees Jo and Jackal and is the only one of the three employees who actually knows and interacts with the Lady Upstairs. This setup was a huge letdown. I thought Jo would be running a badass one-woman operation that she herself had masterminded. I thought she would choose the targets herself, seduce them herself, and blackmail them herself. The actual story was a lot less glamorous. Jo is the newest employee at the Lady Upstairs’ blackmail operation and from the looks of things, she’s not very good at her job. She doesn’t have any say in which men they target or how much money they demand. And she’s in debt to the Lady Upstairs for botching a previous job. Jo’s main responsibility is recruiting and coaching wannabe-actresses to have sex with creepy rich dudes in return for a cut of the blackmail money. This, to me, seemed exploitative, especially since the only one of these women we meet, Ellen, isn’t at all enthusiastic about her part in the scam and in fact repeatedly tries to get out of it, only for Jo to convince her to keep going. And after these women successfully deliver on their part of the job, they don’t have anything more to do with the Lady Upstairs or her operation. They go back to their lives of trying and failing to make it big in Hollywood. It didn’t help that, despite making a point early on in the book that one of her personal rules is not to trust women who don’t like other women, Jo doesn’t seem to like most other women. She’s extremely judgmental of Ellen, and of any other woman who would sleep with a man just because he’s rich or famous. The only person she shows any affection toward is Lou. Their relationship was actually really interesting in the beginning, infinitely more interesting than Jo’s hate-sex with Jackal, but once it became clear that Lou didn’t care about Jo half as much as Jo cared about her, all I wanted was for Jo to leave Lou and Jackal and the Lady Upstairs behind and go do something else with her life. I will say, the best part about this book, for me, was its plot. It was twisty and suspenseful but never unbelievable and it succeeded in making it difficult for me to put the book down. But I didn’t like any of the characters. They were all bitter and cold-hearted and mean. The premise of this book made it sound like it would have some sort of feminist message, women taking back power from men who deserved it, but instead it was just women (and Jackal) coercing other women into having sex with gross men and then blackmailing those men for relatively low amounts of money. (Fifty thousand dollars from a major Hollywood producer? These people could do better.) As for the ending, I saw it coming a mile away, but at least it made sense. I think this is an unpopular opinion, but I prefer a thriller with a predictable but believable ending over one with an ending that comes out of nowhere but doesn’t fit with the rest of the story. But it wasn’t enough to make the rest of the book worth recommending.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Frank Phillips

    This was decent for a debut, and it was so fast-paced that I listened to the audio in less than 2 days, however the subject matter just was not for me. Female con artists in pursuit of rich, cheating husbands (the richer the better), and other 'bad men' in hopes to seduce them and blackmail them with photographic or video evidence is essentially the gist of this novel. Jo is our protagonist in this one, and she's looking to pull off one final con in hopes of finally paying off her debt to her bo This was decent for a debut, and it was so fast-paced that I listened to the audio in less than 2 days, however the subject matter just was not for me. Female con artists in pursuit of rich, cheating husbands (the richer the better), and other 'bad men' in hopes to seduce them and blackmail them with photographic or video evidence is essentially the gist of this novel. Jo is our protagonist in this one, and she's looking to pull off one final con in hopes of finally paying off her debt to her boss, 'the lady upstairs,' whoever she may be. Of course events don't always go according to plan when you are extorting people, and Jo soon finds this out the hard way. Little does she know that the 'lady' is not quite ready for her to hang up her hat and retire just yet! I didn't care for any of the characters as they were truly all bad people, so I found it hard to connect and empathize with any of them, which makes the reading experience for me that much less enjoyable. Additionally, I figured out who the mysterious 'lady upstairs' was pretty much after the first chapter. Had the pacing not been so swift and the book so short, but that's most likely on me for not reading the synopsis and solely relying on great reviews before I went out and got this one :-( I truly believe this author has a lot of potential, and were she to explore another trope moving forward I would definitely read her again. I think a lot of people enjoyed this, and I'm most likely in the minority in this opinion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    4.5 stars The Lady Upstairs is the twisty noir I needed in 2020! Jo was recruited by Lou to blackmail the Hollywood elite: the lecherous movie producers, actors, and politicians are brought down with scandalous photos that they’re willing to pay big money to keep hush hush. Their boss, known only as The Lady Upstairs, carefully chooses the targets and pockets a large portion of the pay-out. Jo and Lou keep an office to appear as a respectable staffing agency; no questions are asked about the women 4.5 stars The Lady Upstairs is the twisty noir I needed in 2020! Jo was recruited by Lou to blackmail the Hollywood elite: the lecherous movie producers, actors, and politicians are brought down with scandalous photos that they’re willing to pay big money to keep hush hush. Their boss, known only as The Lady Upstairs, carefully chooses the targets and pockets a large portion of the pay-out. Jo and Lou keep an office to appear as a respectable staffing agency; no questions are asked about the women coming and going throughout the day. Things go sideways when a target is murdered and suddenly the LAPD is breathing down Jo’s neck. She’s failed to mention to Lou that she used the hush money for the cops to pay off a working girl involved in their scam. Realizing she knows nothing about The Lady Upstairs and that she’s in big trouble, Jo has to figure out a way to outsmart The Lady to free herself and Lou. She’ll take one last mark - a rising politician - behind the Lady’s back in order to pay off her debts and get the hell out of town before she goes down for murder. This was seriously an amazing contemporary noir with plenty of secrets, lies, and double-dealing; it’s dark, smart, and sexy! I enjoyed every page of this story and can’t wait to see what Halley Sutton offers readers next! Huge thanks to G.P. Putnam's Sons and Edelweiss for providing me with a DRC in exchange for my honest review. The Lady Upstairs is scheduled for release on November 17, 2020. For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    The Lady Upstairs is a feminist noir thriller about power and revenge, and how easy it is to lose yourself to both. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC. The opinions in this review are honest and my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Natalie M

    There was little I could connect to with this book. The characters elicited no sympathy and I even began to wish for their demise; they seemed very one-dimensional. The plot is convoluted in an unnecessary and illogical way. The twist was predictable within the first few chapters too. The setting, Hollywood, should have made the premise of the story stronger but it fell flat in too many ways. The blurb made it sound intriguing but the reality was that I was very happy to be finished with this nov There was little I could connect to with this book. The characters elicited no sympathy and I even began to wish for their demise; they seemed very one-dimensional. The plot is convoluted in an unnecessary and illogical way. The twist was predictable within the first few chapters too. The setting, Hollywood, should have made the premise of the story stronger but it fell flat in too many ways. The blurb made it sound intriguing but the reality was that I was very happy to be finished with this novel; others may feel completely differently than I do, up to you to give it a go.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandra ~ ♥ Cross My Heart ♥

    The Lady Upstairs is a dark, provocative, modern day noir thriller about women doling out vigilante-style justice in the form of blackmail to some powerful men in Hollywood with questionable ethics. The story has a decidedly feminist voice with the boss aka the lady upstairs deciding which men need knocking off their pedestal for violating a code of conduct. Lou, the only woman who knows the identity of the "lady", serves as the liaison between her and the working girls. Our protagonist Jo has a The Lady Upstairs is a dark, provocative, modern day noir thriller about women doling out vigilante-style justice in the form of blackmail to some powerful men in Hollywood with questionable ethics. The story has a decidedly feminist voice with the boss aka the lady upstairs deciding which men need knocking off their pedestal for violating a code of conduct. Lou, the only woman who knows the identity of the "lady", serves as the liaison between her and the working girls. Our protagonist Jo has almost paid off her debt to the lady upstairs and is planning to get out of the business once she does. One bad decision and suddenly Jo is in over her head and faced with helping dispose of a dead client. With both her unknown boss and the cops hot on her tail, Jo's only option is to pull one more job - this time entirely on her own. She'll make back the money she needs and be free. Can it really be that simple? The Lady Upstairs is an intriguing, unique thriller that's leans heavily on a character driven plot line. It starts off strong with the setup and introduction of characters. There's a cynical tone and morality playing out with justice being handed down in a twisted match game of wits. I found the writing and story structure to be solid, and enjoyed the old Hollywood ties and ambiance. However, the story begins to wobble midway through as readers are abandoned to deal with Jo's repeated drunken ramblings. The results are a slight loss of focus and slowing pace. It left my mind rambling much as Jo did. The pace picks up again as the story rolls toward the finish line and while I wasn't shocked by the big reveal, I was entertained. This is Halley Sutton's debut novel, and she's off to a great start. Highly recommended to fans of mystery and suspense with a dark edge. 3.5 Stars *Thanks to G.P. Putnam's Sons Publishing for an arc of this book **Review posted at: Cross My Heart Reviews

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    yoooo this book is sapphic, let's go gays!!! (source) yoooo this book is sapphic, let's go gays!!! (source)

  11. 4 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    Behind me, the ocean kept its own counsel because nature is far wiser than any of us and who knows what sleeps under its waters. I bet you anything the ocean itself couldn’t even tell you. On my blog. Rep: bi mc, bi side character CWs: death, murder, alcohol and drug abuse Galley provided by publisher The Lady Upstairs is, in all honesty, a difficult one for me to review. I liked it, definitely, but I wasn’t so engrossed by it that I couldn’t put it down. It was a good thriller, but I saw too Behind me, the ocean kept its own counsel because nature is far wiser than any of us and who knows what sleeps under its waters. I bet you anything the ocean itself couldn’t even tell you. On my blog. Rep: bi mc, bi side character CWs: death, murder, alcohol and drug abuse Galley provided by publisher The Lady Upstairs is, in all honesty, a difficult one for me to review. I liked it, definitely, but I wasn’t so engrossed by it that I couldn’t put it down. It was a good thriller, but I saw too many of the twists coming and, ultimately, it didn’t have the tension to make it a great thriller for me. The plot follows Jo, who is part of a group of people making a living from blackmailing folks in Hollywood. Jo is in debt to the group’s leader, the Lady Upstairs, after being almost caught way back when she started, but the job she is currently working promises to be the last one to pay off that debt. Only, everything goes wrong and Jo finds herself trapped between the Lady Upstairs and the police. First things first, the book has a very engrossing writing style and I found myself halfway through the whole thing before I knew it. It was easy to root for Jo and Lou throughout. So that wasn’t at all a problem. I enjoyed reading it for this exact reason. Add onto that some great characters and I figured I would love it. But I think what caught me here was that there was a slight lack of tension, where there needed to be. It’s a thriller, right? But it didn’t thrill me. There was never a point where I gasped out loud at any plot twists, I never really felt like there was a moment where I genuinely had no clue what would happen next. And I don’t know if this is a product of having read too many mysteries or thrillers, that I know the genre conventions now and everything becomes a little samey, but that was my issue here. This is not to say it’s not a good book, still, or it’s not a book that someone who may have read fewer thrillers might enjoy more. In fact, if you’re looking to get into reading more thrillers, I would definitely suggest this one. It’s just that, whether as a result of my having read too many or because it was genuinely predictable, I wasn’t that surprised by anything in this one. Even when it was suggested that the Lady Upstairs might dispose of Jo — and by dispose you know what I mean — I didn’t feel any tension. Which, ultimately, is what let me down in this one.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    eBook Giveaway Win!

  13. 5 out of 5

    3 no 7

    “The Lady Upstairs” was compelling to read, but I am still not sure how I feel about this disturbingly dark view of a “female protagonist.” I recommend other readers decide for themselves. Jo is a professional, the creator of elaborate stings, the designer of elaborate cons, and an expert blackmailer. She works for “the Lady Upstairs, the faceless woman who hands down orders, and delivers the paychecks. The marks are hand selected for their connections, visibility, and ability to lay their hands “The Lady Upstairs” was compelling to read, but I am still not sure how I feel about this disturbingly dark view of a “female protagonist.” I recommend other readers decide for themselves. Jo is a professional, the creator of elaborate stings, the designer of elaborate cons, and an expert blackmailer. She works for “the Lady Upstairs, the faceless woman who hands down orders, and delivers the paychecks. The marks are hand selected for their connections, visibility, and ability to lay their hands on tiny mountains of cash quickly. Sutton structures the narrative in Jo’s first person account. Jo is a complex character with many layers of behavior, both good and bad, and perception, both culpability and guiltlessness. She is basically rather unpleasant; she drinks too much, has a lot of random sex, and owes a lot of money to “The Lady Upstairs.” She also must recruit new employees. Trauma and drama follow her everywhere, and then there is a murder. “The Lady Upstairs” is a very different look at female revenge. It is gritty, alarming, and shocking. I received a review copy of “The Lady Upstairs” from Halley Sutton, G.P. Putnam's Sons and Penguin Publishing Group.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rach

    Our main character is Jo who works for The Lady while paying her debt off to The Lady. They find the perfect girl to seduce a powerful man (they tend to be horrible men) and then proceed to blackmail them for money. One job that Jo is involved ends up in murder which leads to secrets being revealed. I would say this book learns towards the Noir genre. This is a gritty, fast paced thriller/noir with a few surprises and a intriguing main character who blurs the line between good and bad. A excelle Our main character is Jo who works for The Lady while paying her debt off to The Lady. They find the perfect girl to seduce a powerful man (they tend to be horrible men) and then proceed to blackmail them for money. One job that Jo is involved ends up in murder which leads to secrets being revealed. I would say this book learns towards the Noir genre. This is a gritty, fast paced thriller/noir with a few surprises and a intriguing main character who blurs the line between good and bad. A excellent debut book. I received a DRC from Edelweiss and the publisher for an objection review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    3.5 stars The Lady Upstairs had me confused as to who was who for a little while at the beginning but then again, that might be my fault as I was trying to play a game that took a little too much of my focus while listening to an audiobook. Once that was over and once the story finally hooked me, it was a much better experience. Now I have to agree that the big reveal was predictable as I had guessed it early in the book but I don't really mind. I still didn't know how it was going to end up and 3.5 stars The Lady Upstairs had me confused as to who was who for a little while at the beginning but then again, that might be my fault as I was trying to play a game that took a little too much of my focus while listening to an audiobook. Once that was over and once the story finally hooked me, it was a much better experience. Now I have to agree that the big reveal was predictable as I had guessed it early in the book but I don't really mind. I still didn't know how it was going to end up and how our MC was going to react. Overall, it was a pretty entertaining Mystery/Thriller.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I contributed this review to Really Into This Check out all of our reviews at https://reallyintothis.com Happy Reading, friends! Special thanks to Putman for providing our copy in exchange for an honest & fair review. This is a really interesting book & it took me several days to gather my thoughts about it. I couldn't put this book down. The plot simmers. We know we will eventually meet The Lady Upstairs face to face, but I wanted to get there ASAP. I don't really know if the pay-off is there, but i I contributed this review to Really Into This Check out all of our reviews at https://reallyintothis.com Happy Reading, friends! Special thanks to Putman for providing our copy in exchange for an honest & fair review. This is a really interesting book & it took me several days to gather my thoughts about it. I couldn't put this book down. The plot simmers. We know we will eventually meet The Lady Upstairs face to face, but I wanted to get there ASAP. I don't really know if the pay-off is there, but it was there enough to keep me reading as fast as I could. I just had to know! I really like Sutton's writing style. Her female lead is flawed, real & honest with readers. We see everything. I so appreciate this & it makes me root for her more. This title definitely has a darker, noir feel. I'm a huge fan of the show Imposters & I really see some similarities. I do love a con story SO much and this is a good one. I did also appreciate & root for the women sticking it these disgusting men, even if I didn't always agree with their tactics. Overall, a really engrossing read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    JANELLE || WHATSHESEEES

    Thank you Putnam Books for the gifted copy! This one just totally missed the mark for me. I started reading it after putting Addie LaRue down for a break and ended up finishing it in one night. I sat on reviewing it because I wanted to make sure that Addie didn’t effect my overall opinion on how I felt about it, but I now know that it just wasn’t what I was expecting with the title “The Lady Upstairs” I always go in blind when it comes to a book and really thought this book was going to be differ Thank you Putnam Books for the gifted copy! This one just totally missed the mark for me. I started reading it after putting Addie LaRue down for a break and ended up finishing it in one night. I sat on reviewing it because I wanted to make sure that Addie didn’t effect my overall opinion on how I felt about it, but I now know that it just wasn’t what I was expecting with the title “The Lady Upstairs” I always go in blind when it comes to a book and really thought this book was going to be different than it was. However, it still gave me the ultimate suspense I wanted in a thriller - I just don’t think that the ending gave me exactly what I needed from the whole storyline. I will say that there is one part in this book that totally had me like 😱 and for that you’ll just have to read it and find out!! C O M I N G S O O N 11 / 17 / 20 It’s the authors debut novel and because of that I have hopes that other books by her in the future will bring more of that thriller element of surprise I was looking for with The Lady Upstairs.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)

    A group of women "living to take down terrible men". Sold! As expected, we get a read about sex, blackmail and revenge. Jo is our flawed protagonist who loves her job but is desperate for the money as she has pressing debts to pay off. Plus, it keeps her close to Lou, who she clearly is in love with and is hoping to run off into the sunset with her at some point. But first, she needs to get herself sorted and this is no easy task. While I love the premise of this and felt it started strong, the m A group of women "living to take down terrible men". Sold! As expected, we get a read about sex, blackmail and revenge. Jo is our flawed protagonist who loves her job but is desperate for the money as she has pressing debts to pay off. Plus, it keeps her close to Lou, who she clearly is in love with and is hoping to run off into the sunset with her at some point. But first, she needs to get herself sorted and this is no easy task. While I love the premise of this and felt it started strong, the middle lulled as we get further into Jo's gin-soaked brain. So many mistakes being made... GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, JO! Then it gets interesting again as the last quarter moves right along. The twist was expected but I wasn't sure if it was going to go *this* way or *that* way and then.... well, I don't know about you other readers, but WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU MA'AM. Though, admittedly, I could've done without the last chapter. A very solid and promising debut from Sutton. I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for her as I have no doubt she's making her mark in this genre.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Lady Upstairs started off a bit slow for me. Eventually things picked up but kind of simmered once again on the slowness. In it, you will meet Jo. Her whole job sounds kind of cool because she blackmails people. Well, not just any people but either way - it sounded interesting. Unfortunately, the whole cat and mouse game wasn't as twisty as I thought it was going to be. Even though I wasn't actually thinking of someone I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Lady Upstairs started off a bit slow for me. Eventually things picked up but kind of simmered once again on the slowness. In it, you will meet Jo. Her whole job sounds kind of cool because she blackmails people. Well, not just any people but either way - it sounded interesting. Unfortunately, the whole cat and mouse game wasn't as twisty as I thought it was going to be. Even though I wasn't actually thinking of someone as the big suspect reveal until around 75% of the book.. I wasn't surprised by it either. Mostly because little things weren't making sense to me in the beginning. Then it got a bit confusing towards the middle but then something clicked and I knew. Then there's Jo. She was an okay character. I thought she was going to be a bit more badass than she was. I'm also kind of annoyed that she didn't seem to realize what was going on until the very end. She was there and saw things but still she didn't want to see it. Or know the truth. Then once she did I just wanted to scream at her. In the end, it was an okay book with a sort of interesting ending.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Devoured this one! Sutton is a gorgeous writer & this was a twisty & delightful, gritty, luscious read. Can’t wait to read more by her!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Danan

    I was lucky enough to secure an ARC after screaming on social media about how much I NEEDED one and pals, I am obsessed with this book. Within pages, it became one of my favorite reads—not only of hell year 2020—but EVER. A booze-soaked, twisty, captivating noir that doesn’t center cis-het men, THE LADY UPSTAIRS both reclaims a classic narrative and fully infuses it with fresh voice and a new story trajectory. The prose is visceral, poignant, and sharp as a knife. I loved the quiet moments as mu I was lucky enough to secure an ARC after screaming on social media about how much I NEEDED one and pals, I am obsessed with this book. Within pages, it became one of my favorite reads—not only of hell year 2020—but EVER. A booze-soaked, twisty, captivating noir that doesn’t center cis-het men, THE LADY UPSTAIRS both reclaims a classic narrative and fully infuses it with fresh voice and a new story trajectory. The prose is visceral, poignant, and sharp as a knife. I loved the quiet moments as much as the loud ones. Sutton gives us so many facets of love and lust and friendship and failing. The text is RICH and SUMPTUOUS. Our heroine Jo is a potent mix of bravado and fear. Her determination and loyalty to Lou make her easy to route for, but what really won by heart is the way she’s messy in this controlled fashion. She breaks your heart and the ache is so sweet. I also fell for Lou (how could you not)—with her palpable charisma and veiled darkness. Even characters that I started out disliking, like Jackal and Ellen, were fully formed and I found myself growing invested in them. This book is full of flawed humans, each of them nuanced—broken in their own distinct ways. This book is feminist but not the shiny pink plastic version. It’s as dynamic and complicated an issue in the story as it is IRL. Halley Sutton is a wild talent. I can't wait to read everything she writes for the rest of forever.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Stewart

    ☕🕶️"𝘽𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙍𝙚𝙫𝙞𝙚𝙬"🕶️☕ 𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘥𝘺 𝘜𝘱𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘳𝘴 𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫: 𝐻𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑒 𝑆𝑢𝑡𝑡𝑜𝑛 𝐍𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝐎𝐟 𝐏𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐬: 293(𝑎𝑟𝑐) 𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: 𝑃𝑠𝑦𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑇ℎ𝑟𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑟 𝐏𝐮𝐛 𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞: 11/17/2020 𝐑𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠: 📕📕📕📕📕 • This is the author's debut novel. This book has a stunning cover. • 𝐌𝐲 𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬: This was one hell of a thriller. We follow Jo who's job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles. This book took me on a wild ride. I've never read a book like this before. This book gave me Mafia/mob vibes. I've never read a thriller that included murder, ☕🕶️"𝘽𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙍𝙚𝙫𝙞𝙚𝙬"🕶️☕ 𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘥𝘺 𝘜𝘱𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘳𝘴 𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫: 𝐻𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑒 𝑆𝑢𝑡𝑡𝑜𝑛 𝐍𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝐎𝐟 𝐏𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐬: 293(𝑎𝑟𝑐) 𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: 𝑃𝑠𝑦𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑇ℎ𝑟𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑟 𝐏𝐮𝐛 𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞: 11/17/2020 𝐑𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠: 📕📕📕📕📕 • This is the author's debut novel. This book has a stunning cover. • 𝐌𝐲 𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬: This was one hell of a thriller. We follow Jo who's job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles. This book took me on a wild ride. I've never read a book like this before. This book gave me Mafia/mob vibes. I've never read a thriller that included murder, mixed with darkness and seduction throughout. Jo is the type of woman that I would be very scared of in real life if I ever met her. She is willing to do whatever it takes. The cat and mouse chase was a joy to read, and I cannot wait to read more books from this author. Halley has a unique way of sending you through a novel with your butt on the edge of your seat while being seduced wanting more. The thriller vibes included in this book were spot on, while the sultry and seductive vibes throughout had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up with goosebumps on my arms. This book comes out on 11/17/2020 so pre order your copy today!!!!!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nev

    I’m bummed. I thought I was going to LOVE this book… but it ended up just being kinda okay. Like, a modern day noir story about women who blackmail and take down awful men? Sign me up!! However, the story never ended up being as compelling as I hoped it would be based on that synopsis. The main character Jo was just really bland and the overall plot felt a little bit slow and convoluted. I felt like I didn’t know enough about Jo or the other characters to be invested in their stories. Something I’m bummed. I thought I was going to LOVE this book… but it ended up just being kinda okay. Like, a modern day noir story about women who blackmail and take down awful men? Sign me up!! However, the story never ended up being as compelling as I hoped it would be based on that synopsis. The main character Jo was just really bland and the overall plot felt a little bit slow and convoluted. I felt like I didn’t know enough about Jo or the other characters to be invested in their stories. Something really interesting finally happens around halfway through the book and things do get more exciting. I think there are glimpses of greatness in this and I’m open to reading more from Halley Sutton in the future. But overall this story never fully delivered on what was a great concept.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    I ended up really disliking this book. Too predictable, and the main character couldn't decide if she was brutal and cold or desperate and pushed into a corner. I spent the first half thinking I just didn't enjoy the narrator (she was definitely, without a doubt, the wrong choice for this book... just way too upbeat and chipper for the tone) but by the end it was just too predictable. Rounded up from 2.5 because I think my opinion was tainted by the miscast narration. I ended up really disliking this book. Too predictable, and the main character couldn't decide if she was brutal and cold or desperate and pushed into a corner. I spent the first half thinking I just didn't enjoy the narrator (she was definitely, without a doubt, the wrong choice for this book... just way too upbeat and chipper for the tone) but by the end it was just too predictable. Rounded up from 2.5 because I think my opinion was tainted by the miscast narration.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jannelies

    I'm sorry but this is not for me. I just cannot get into the story or the characters. I'm sorry but this is not for me. I just cannot get into the story or the characters.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    The lighting is dim, a soft glow reflecting off the deep mahogany of the wooden bar. You twirl the drink in your hand, the ice clinking against the glass. As you take a slow sip, the whiskey burning the back of your throat, you keep your eye on the couple across the room. She seems to be working her charm, he’s hanging on her every word. You set the glass down and a twenty for the bartender and make your way outside to wait. The Lady Upstairs really fell flat for me. Essentially it’s about a grou The lighting is dim, a soft glow reflecting off the deep mahogany of the wooden bar. You twirl the drink in your hand, the ice clinking against the glass. As you take a slow sip, the whiskey burning the back of your throat, you keep your eye on the couple across the room. She seems to be working her charm, he’s hanging on her every word. You set the glass down and a twenty for the bartender and make your way outside to wait. The Lady Upstairs really fell flat for me. Essentially it’s about a group of women running a prostitution ring to bring down wealthy, well-known men. Very corrupt men. I just didn’t love that they were exploiting women to take down these men, regardless of how much they were paying them. The twist was something I figured out very early on, too, so that left the surprises very lackluster for me. One thing I did like, the LGBTQ+ representation of the main character. I liked that her vulnerability was shown when she just wanted the woman she loved to love her back. That’s not something you see very often in thrillers. TW: Prostitution, Physical Abuse, Infidelity, Blackmail, Manipulation, Murder. *I received a gifted copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brittany (bookthingswithbrittany)

    Thank you so much for the gifted book @putnambooks 😍 First off, this cover is stunning. I am obsessed. Second, The premise of this book was intriguing and I was hooked from the start. I have never read a book featuring a female character whose job was to find and take down terrible men..... but I love the idea 😅 I will say that there were times when this book did get a little repetitive. I had a love hate relationship with many of the characters, and although I didn’t really connect to any of the Thank you so much for the gifted book @putnambooks 😍 First off, this cover is stunning. I am obsessed. Second, The premise of this book was intriguing and I was hooked from the start. I have never read a book featuring a female character whose job was to find and take down terrible men..... but I love the idea 😅 I will say that there were times when this book did get a little repetitive. I had a love hate relationship with many of the characters, and although I didn’t really connect to any of them, I enjoyed reading about Jo and Lou. This book is a thriller but oddly wasn’t very “thrilling” until the last 50 pages?? I enjoyed the twist at the end though and definitely did not see it coming! I am a little picky with my thrillers so I would still recommend this to others as I think many would enjoy it!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nik's Nook

    Jo makes a living by setting up and taking down men who abuse their power. She works for the enigmatic Lady Upstairs. She quite enjoys what she does and the life she lives, but, when one of the marks ends up dead and Jo begins to realize the police are looking closely at her, she realizes that she needs to begin to look closely at someone else: the Lady Upstairs. This debut started out really strong. The storyline is timely and interesting. I did feel that, at times, it was a bit repetitive, but Jo makes a living by setting up and taking down men who abuse their power. She works for the enigmatic Lady Upstairs. She quite enjoys what she does and the life she lives, but, when one of the marks ends up dead and Jo begins to realize the police are looking closely at her, she realizes that she needs to begin to look closely at someone else: the Lady Upstairs. This debut started out really strong. The storyline is timely and interesting. I did feel that, at times, it was a bit repetitive, but it kept me guessing and kept me reading. I didn't particularly like any of the characters or the way they would set up their marks, so I had a hard time buying into it a bit. I'm a very character-driven reader, though, so it may not bother most. Overall, this was a solid debut. I'm interested to see what's next for Sutton. Thank you to the author for sending me this beautiful review copy!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Winstead

    WOW. What a sharp, sexy, delicious book. Halley Sutton's writing cuts like a knife--there were moments throughout where I had to pause and re-read a sentence because it was just that good, that smart, and twisted that deep into my heart. Sutton's storytelling is masterful, and the plot sails forward, propelled by dark, smart, marshmellow-center Jo (yes, I am quoting VMars--fellow fans, jump on this book), and the people she loves and hates, who she pushes away and pulls in in equal measure. Every WOW. What a sharp, sexy, delicious book. Halley Sutton's writing cuts like a knife--there were moments throughout where I had to pause and re-read a sentence because it was just that good, that smart, and twisted that deep into my heart. Sutton's storytelling is masterful, and the plot sails forward, propelled by dark, smart, marshmellow-center Jo (yes, I am quoting VMars--fellow fans, jump on this book), and the people she loves and hates, who she pushes away and pulls in in equal measure. Everything about THE LADY UPSTAIRS is so damn gripping--the twists and turns, which suprised me but also felt earned, Jo's voice, the dark, seedy LA setting that felt pitch-perfect for the book and rang true as a former Los Angeleno. I am in awe. This is by far one of my favorite books of 2020 and I can't wait to see what Sutton brings us next.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Disclosure: I received a netgalley of this book on my Kindle in exchange for an honest review. I was excited to get to preview this book. This is the first time a publisher has asked this of me and allowed me to do this except for when I was working as an editor for a publishing company, which was completely different. Since I have to give the book just two stars, it may be the last time a publisher asks this of me. I truly wanted to give the book a higher rating, but GoodReads' three star ratin Disclosure: I received a netgalley of this book on my Kindle in exchange for an honest review. I was excited to get to preview this book. This is the first time a publisher has asked this of me and allowed me to do this except for when I was working as an editor for a publishing company, which was completely different. Since I have to give the book just two stars, it may be the last time a publisher asks this of me. I truly wanted to give the book a higher rating, but GoodReads' three star rating means one "liked it." That does not describe my reaction to this book. First, the good news about the book. It is well-structured and well-written. The plot makes sense, the problem is presented at the beginning, and the pacing is done reasonably well, except the 10-44% part of the book where nothing really happens. But then at that 44% point, something does, and the plot moves along great after that. There is suspense as we wonder if the protagonist will succeed. The situation is mildly interesting, and the characters are convincingly and realistically presented. So, what's the problem? That takes a little explanation. The book's premise is that there are a lot of jerks in Hollywood, big shot producers and the like, who are unfaithful to their wives, and, who knows, probably mistreat their pets too. The protagonist is here to set things right, get some justice from these despicable bigshots. How does she want to do this? She wants to screw them, literally, in a kinky way hopefully, and then blackmail them, threatening to expose their infidelities and deviant predilections to the public and the bigshots' family members. Our protagonist is surrounded by like-minded "friends" who help her by keeping the hidden camera rolling and assist with other logistics of the blackmailing. Perhaps you can already see my problem with the premise from the way I have stated it. But in case you can not, I'll spell it out. In every novel the protagonist is good in some way and has to be trying to achieve something worthwhile. This "good" I refer to doesn't mean the protagonist is perfect. A protagonist can be seriously flawed, vexed by inner demons, struggling against bad features of her personality, less than competent, what have you. But at some level, in some inner core, there has to be something we can root for in the protagonist, something we can hope she achieves. There's nothing like that for me in this novel. An author has wide latitude in portraying a protagonist's flaws because we the reader are getting the story from the protagonist's perspective and naturally want to be on the protagonist's side. There are limits, however, and here Sutton exceeds them. This protagonist has no morally redeeming features whatsoever. It doesn't matter that the people she is trying to harm are also morally repugnant. Sutton, by the way, doesn't even do a very convincing job of depicting the antagonists as being all that bad. She sort of assumes they are and that we will agree with her. Cheating on one's spouse is never cool, but given the temptation and manipulation these cheaters are subjected to by the protagonist, I can partially excuse them. If nothing else, the punishment the protagonist metes out to the blackmail victims certainly exceeds the parameters of their crime. The author, I suspect, disagrees, and probably thinks the blackmail perfectly just, leading me to wonder if Ms. Sutton may be trying to achieve some form of catharsis from feeling wronged by a cheater in her past. In any event, the wish fulfillment fantasy of the author's this novel may portray is not working to her advantage. Since the protagonist is basically rotten to the core and trying to achieve one unworthy goal after another, including getting away with murder, the entire novel, however well-written, structured, and carefully plotted it may be, breaks down. That's why you see some reviewers saying they could not finish the book and that it was just too sordid. In books with this kind of failing, and thankfully they're rare, reviewers complain about how there are no likable characters. Here, the protagonist is not likable and no one around her is either. Also, the goals the protagonist is trying to achieve, except for one (survival) which is never seriously threatened, are completely unworthy. Even though I give this book a low rating, a number of people will enjoy it. They will overlook the moral bankruptcy portrayed by the protagonist and extend her the well wishes a protagonist of any novel gets just from being placed within that role by a novel's structure. If you can do that, and many younger people brought up on reality TV no doubt can, then the novelty of the plot and the good writing will carry you through to the end of the book and provide a satisfying reading experience for you. I did not enjoy the book, although its strengths makes me give it a two star rating of okay. I was unable to feel any sympathy, empathy, or kind wishes for the disgusting specimen of humanity this bottom-feeding protagonist represented.

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