Friday, September 21, 2007

The Key by Jennifer Sturman

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Jennifer SturmanLike the heroine of The Pact, The Jinx and The Key, Jennifer Sturman grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, the birthplace of another fictional character, Ward Cleaver. She also attended the same school as actress Margaret Hamilton, the Cleveland native who played the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. When Ms. Sturman was in the fourth grade Ms. Hamilton visited her alma mater and told the students how she melted. While sworn to secrecy, Ms. Sturman does offer the following hint: trapdoor.

Ms. Sturman graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a degree in history and literature. She began her business career as a financial analyst in mergers and acquisitions at Goldman, Sachs. Unlike her heroine, Ms. Sturman did not thrive on the all-nighters and number crunching demanded by Wall Street, although she managed to sustain herself by consuming a steady stream of Diet Coke. After two years, she enrolled at Harvard Business School where, with the aid of yet more Diet Coke, she earned her MBA with distinction. She then joined McKinsey & Company as a management consultant, advising clients in media, consumer packaged goods and retail on a broad range of strategic issues. She now works in corporate strategy at Time Warner, but she does not get free cable (although she does enjoy free Diet Coke).

Ms. Sturman resides in Manhattan. She has no free time, but if she did, she would probably spend it doing the New York Times crossword puzzle, watching bad teen movies from the eighties and sipping drinks that come with little umbrellas in them. She is currently at work on her fourth Rachel Benjamin mystery, The Hunt, to be released in December 2007.

She loves getting mail from readers, e-mail her at Or visit her on the web at


Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I’ve always loved to read, and writing just seemed to flow from that. That said, I didn’t start writing fiction until I was well out of college, but once I did, I was hooked.

What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
I love creating characters and thinking about what they’d say or do, and I love putting words together. But waiting for the reviews is never fun!

How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I don’t! But if you have any tips, please let me know.

How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
I usually start with the characters and a high-level idea for the plot, and then once I start writing, the characters make the plot unfold. They tend to take on a life of their own, and sometimes they take you in strange directions.

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I’m a bit compulsive about puzzles and brainteasers, so mysteries have a special appeal for me. I wanted to write a mystery with a sense of humor and a heroine I could relate to. The result was my first book, The Pact, and the Rachel Benjamin series was born!

What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
That it’s glamorous!

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Sometimes I start with a real person and take their quirks to an extreme, and sometimes I create composites drawn from several people I know. But a lot of it comes from my imagination.

Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
That’s like asking a mother to choose her favorite child!

If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
Would I have to spend a lot of time with the actors, discussing their characters’ motivation? If so, I think it would have to be George Clooney. Or Daniel Craig. Or Clive Owen. Or Colin Firth. Or….

What would you want readers to take away from your books?
I’m happy if people have fun reading my books, and I’m ecstatic if they want to know what happens next to the characters.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Start writing!

Who are your favorite authors?
I wouldn’t be able to pick just one, but here’s a selection: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dodie Smith, Kaye Gibbons, Patrick Dennis, Madeline L’Engle, Lawrence Block, Janet Evanovich, Helen Fielding, and Louise Rennison

What are you reading right now?
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of historical fiction by writers like Philippa Gregory and Anya Seton. It’s so different than anything I’d ever be able to write, and it also completely transports you to a different time and place. And I tell myself it’s educational, since I’m learning about history!



Ever wished your boss would drop dead?

Of course not. Well, not really. And neither had Rachel Benjamin – until she finds herself working for Wall Street terror Glenn Gallagher on his latest pet project. Rachel thinks the deal – and Gallagher – are more than a little shady, but she has a promotion at stake. It's either keep her lips sealed or kiss her partnership goodbye. Or kill Gallagher. (Just kidding!)

At least she has Peter. Rachel's too-good-to-be-true fiancé has moved in, and while his stuff is everywhere and he's strangely jealous of her friendly new coworker, she's confident they'll figure things out in time. It would help if Gallagher's killer schedule didn't have Rachel working around the clock. Really, the man must be stopped.

But Rachel's jokes about killing her boss don't seem so funny when Glenn is murdered. And it's even less funny when she becomes the prime suspect. With the police hot on her very stylish heels, and the threat of an unflattering orange jumpsuit in her future, Rachel's learning the hard way to be careful what you wish for. She needs to catch the true killer – and fast – before the killer catches her.



I was having my favorite type of dream, a flying dream, when the phone rang.

I opened one eye, testing to see if this was part of the dream. But in my dream the skies were blue and lit by golden sunlight. In my bedroom, it was dark, and freezing, since my new roommate liked to sleep with the windows wide open, even in March and even in Manhattan. And the phone was still ringing.

Peter mumbled something unintelligible and pulled the duvet over his head. I thought about doing the same, but surely nobody would call in the middle of the night unless it was important. I reached out for the phone.


“Rachel. Glenn Grisky, here.”

This had to be a joke. “What time is it?”

“Almost six. Listen, I need you in the office. We don’t have much time to get ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“I’ll tell you when you get in. See you in an hour.”

“But it’s Satur—” I began to say before I realized I was talking to a dial tone.

I was still half asleep, so my reaction was somewhat delayed. It was nearly five The Key by Jennifer Sturmanseconds before I’d collected myself sufficiently to say the only appropriate thing that could be said in such a situation.

“You asshole!”

Peter gasped and shot into a sitting position. I’d spoken more loudly than I’d intended. “And a good morning to you, too.” Even in the dark, I could make out the silhouette of his sandy hair.

“You look like Alfalfa.”

“Excuse me?”

“From The Little Rascals. You know, the one with the piece of hair that stuck straight up. He sang.”

“‘I’m in the Mood for Love.’”

“Uh-huh. He had a crush on Darla.”

“And that makes me an asshole?”

“No. Who said you were an asshole?”

“You did. Just now.”

“Oh. I wasn’t talking to you.”

“Good to know, I guess.” He settled back into the pillows and reached for me. “So who were you talking to?”

I snuggled into his embrace. Despite the Arctic chill to the room, his body radiated heat. “Glenn Grisky. He was on the phone. But he didn’t hear me call him an asshole. He’d already hung up.”


“Yes. Ah.”

“Who’s Glenn Grisky?”

“The new guy Stan Winslow brought in.”

“And why was he calling us in the middle of the night?” Even as I answered Peter’s question I was marveling at the unfamiliar use of “us.” I’d lived alone from the day I graduated college until the previous week, and I still wasn’t accustomed to the first person plural being applied in reference to my household. Our household.

“He said he needs me in the office. In an hour. Actually, more like fifty-five minutes at this point.”

“Do you think he knows it’s Saturday?”


“And do you think he knows we were going to sleep in? And have a nice leisurely brunch and read the New York Times? And then figure out where I can put all my stuff?” Peter’s worldly belongings had arrived from San Francisco a few days ago, and stacks of unopened cardboard cartons now occupied every available square foot of the apartment.

“I doubt he gave it that much thought.”

“Why do you do this again?”

I sighed and detached myself from Peter’s arms. The rug was cold beneath my bare feet. “Because this is how you make partner at an investment bank.”

“By letting assholes order you out of bed in the wee hours on weekends?”

“If I keep it up, one day I’ll get to order other people out of bed in the wee hours on weekends.”

“Something to look forward to.”

“Go back to sleep. I’ll call you later, when I know what this is all about. Maybe I can rescue at least part of our day together.”

But I wasn’t too confident about that.

By Monday morning, the only thing I was confident about was that I wanted Glenn Grisky dead.


"Sex and the City meets Agatha Christie! Jennifer Sturman's an exciting new voice in mystery fiction."
-- Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Queen of Babble

"Sturman's latest Rachel Benjamin mystery has the same delectable blend of snappy writing, chick-lit liveliness, and clever plotting as the first two books in this delightfully entertaining series."
-- Booklist

"Sturman's gift for plot, characterization, and dialogue provide a uniquely satisfying romantic romp."
-- Mystery Scene Magazine

"The best yet...a fast, smooth read with engaging humor and abundant comic moments."
-- Romance Reader at Heart

The Key by Jennifer Sturman
ISBN-10: 0373896034
Publisher: Red Dress Ink
Release Date: Dec 2006
Genre: Chick lit
$11.86 from

Purchase The Key by Jennifer Sturman HERE!!!

posted by Rachelle
at 1:40 PM