March 6th, 2008

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Book Number 19

19) Money Shot by Christa Faust. (February 2008, Hard Case Crime, 250 pages).
This book marks a first for Hard Case Crime books (an imprint of Dorchester Books dedicated to both publishing original and reprinting classic hardboiled crime thrillers; it's the first HCC book penned by a woman. Christa Faust is no stranger to my reading stack (author of original novels Control Freak and Hoodtown, media tie ins for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th series, and the award winning novelization of Snakes on a Plane). I've been champing at the bit to read this book since it was announced about a year ago. Because of commitments to Horror Reader, I've been putting reading a lot of books that I actually want to read in favor of books I feel I should be reading. Well, no longer.

First line test: "Coming back from the dead isn't as easy as they make it seem in the movies."
Result: I was certainly hooked to read more.

Money Shot is a revenge story set in the sleazy porn industry. Angel Dare was a star when she was younger. Unlike the other porno workers, though, she avoided the pitfalls of drugs and frivolous spending, saving herself a nestegg from which to actually build a life. The life she chose, however, did not fall far from the porn tree: she became an agent for girls in The Industry, offering more of a fair shake to the ladies than they might get in this otherwise male dominated industry. Now that's all backstory. Insight into the character.

As the novel opens, we find our heroine bound and gagged in a trunk, mind racing frantically on both a means of getting out of this situation and on getting revenge on the men who trapped her there. Against her best interests, you see, she has gotten involved in a situation involving some missing money and the bad guys who are tracking it down. Securing her freedom, she soon discovers that these bad men have efficiently and effectively framed her, destroying the life she has known. From this point on, there are only two matters of import: revenge and salvaging what she can from her "past life".

Money Shot is nothing short of a captivating thrill ride. Faust's prose style is as sanded as the best of the hardboiled writers, while her voice is like no one else. This is a novel that only she could have written, and beyond being a slice of literary poison (tasty but dangerous), it is also insightful into the quirky quagmire world of adult entertainment. The books seethes with sexuality (and more than a little frustration), while never once stooping to gratuity. There are some heavy duty emotional razor edges in this one; to read it is to open some wounds. This is a novel that delights in making its audience suffer along with its protagonist, pulled off with such verve that it made this reader happily crawl, cavort and beg for more.

I love a good hard boiled novel. I've been reading Hard Case Crime since the beginning, and this novel has jumped into my personal top ten list. Kudos to Christa Faust for this electrifying work, and I cannot wait to see what she has to offer next.
there!, Hello

Nominated? Me? Huh?!?

Just found out that my poem "my man come back" (first published in the Fall 2007 issue of Goblin Fruit) has been nominated for the Rhysling award, given by the Science Fiction Poetry Association for best speculative poem of the year (they have two categories: long and short; mine is short).

What does this mean for me? Well, for the near future, my poem will be given a bit more longevity/exposure, appearing amongst the many other nominees in the SFPA's poetry anthology The 2008 Rhysling Anthology, due out this summer/fall.

Shocked, surprised, stunned. These words adequately describe me, right now.