The Way of the Word

22. January 2010

Review: Christa Faust – Money Shot

Filed under: books,review — jensaltmann @ 09:08
Tags: , ,

Originally published in 2008.

Remember how I talked about original new voices in fiction a couple of days ago?

Christa Faust is one of them.

Money Shot is a thriller about ex porn star Angel Dare, who now runs and agency for porn models. She is lured to the supposed site of a porn movie shoot, where she is tortured and raped. But the villains make one mistake: they leave her for dead when she isn’t. Calling on the ex-cop Malloy for help, Angel looks into why this was done to her, and seeks revenge against those who did it. Meanwhile, the body count goes up and the matter gets progressively dangerous. Especially when Angel realizes that she really can not trust anyone.

This is not Christa Faust’s debut novel. She’s mostly a horror writer and has written several media tie-in novels.

Money Shot draws heavily from her inside knowledge of the sex industry. Lacking such knowledge, I can only speculate about how realistic the picture she draws is. But this look at a rather exotic world does add some spice to the plot.

I would say most of the spice, because the plot is tried-and-true. Angel tries to get the case full of money before the bad guys get it, her friends get killed all around her because the bad guys want to get their hands on the case, Angel is the prime suspect in a murder she did not commit and needs to clear her name. It’s really Christa Faust’s writing style that makes this novel very enjoyable. There are some things that bothered me slightly — such as Angel’s considerable reliance on Malloy, but as several other developments (including the ending) show, that was part of the writer’s effort to make the story just a bit more realistic than the average hardboiled thriller.

One benefit of Hard Case Crimes’ policies is that the novels they produce are, by contemporary standards, rather short. In the case of hardboiled fiction, that’s a good thing. The writers have to cut to the chase and the stories don’t overstay their welcome. Christa Faust clearly works well within these restrictions.

And how can you not love that cover.

Verdict: recommended

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