Author: L.S. Hilton
Genre: Is sexy thriller a genre?
Release Date: March 2016
“Judith Rashleigh works as an assistant in a prestigious London auction house, but her dreams of breaking into the art world have been gradually dulled by the blunt forces of snobbery and corruption. To make ends meet she moonlights as a hostess in one of the West End’s less salubrious bars – although her work there pales against her activities on nights off.
When Judith stumbles across a conspiracy at her auction house, she is fired before she can expose the fraud. In desperation, she accepts an offer from one of the bar’s clients to accompany him to the French Riviera. But when an ill-advised attempt to slip him sedatives has momentous consequences, Judith finds herself fleeing for her life. Now alone and in danger, all Judith has to rely on is her consummate ability to fake it amongst the rich and famous – and the inside track on the hugely lucrative art fraud that triggered her dismissal.” (Allen & Unwin)
This book has been described as Gone Girl meets The Talented Mr Ripley, and a smart Fifty Shades of Grey. Naturally the Ripley comparisons piqued my interest, the Fifty Shades not so much because erotica doesn’t really float my boat. Plus it was super hyped (so hyped I entered like a million competitions to win an advance copy AND THEN I FINALLY DID – thanks Dymocks and Allen & Unwin!) so I was prepared to have mixed feelings about this one. I was excited to read it, but I was also really judgey about it before I’d even opened it, purely because it was mentioned in the same breath as Fifty Shades.
I was wrong to judge. And here’s why you should read it.
The hype is real and it’s right
A movie deal before it’s even published? I thought that surely it can’t be that good. But I had such a great time reading this book and I had it finished in a couple of days – I basically inhaled it. It was smart, sexy, entertaining, stabby (cos you guys know I like that stuff) and I’m not surprised that people are keen for this to hit the screen. I won’t lie, I didn’t love the writing at the start, but it got better to read as the plot warmed up. There’s tricky twists and turns and layers and just when you think you’ve got it all sorted, something happens to throw you off.
Judith Rashleigh is amazing
Judith is smart, self aware, and completely in control of herself as a person. She’s also not against using her physical assets to get what she wants. I love that L.S. Hilton is completely unapologetic about this fact – if Judith is smart enough to recognise that her physical assets are just as useful as her mental ones, then all power to her. It doesn’t make her “less”.
And she has sex. She likes it, she’s not shy about it, and it doesn’t have to become an emotional thing for her. It’s all very grown up really. While no sociopaths will ever come close to ruling my heart the way Highsmith’s Tom Ripley does, Judith is sure giving him a run for his money. Even better? She is never once described physically – she could be any woman. She could be YOU! Talk about reader empowerment you guys.
The author herself is kind of amazing
Some people might look at the plot of this book and be super judgmental about its author, L.S. Hilton. But she’s probably the opposite of what people would think – she’s a complete history nerd! She teaches and writes about it. I love that! You should read this interview with her – it’s very illuminating and might surprise some people.
It’s not an erotic novel
But if you’re into erotic stuff, then this’ll probably still do it for you. Really I think it’s a thriller that has a few sex scenes – a sexy thriller! Fair warning to people: the sex scenes are pret-ty explicit, so it’s probably a great idea to not read this on the train like I did – some people like to read over shoulders and it could get uncomfortable. Unless you like that, in which case, go nuts. Also, Hilton is not shy about dropping the c-bomb (it first appears on page 2) and the eff word, so if you’re the opposite to me and don’t like swearing, then this may not be the book for you.
There are some great one-liners that will get you thinking about all sorts of wrong stuff
Like: “What’s the appropriate selfie pose when you’ve just got away with manslaughter?”
IMPORTANT: You can use it to take pretty Instagram photos
Basically you should just read this and have a good time as you do so. I’d recommend setting aside plenty of time though, as you may want to just knock the whole thing out in one sitting.