Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Money Shot

The third book I read from the Worldcon stack was Money Shot, from Hard Case Crime.

Money Shot is a taut little noir novel by Christa Faust, about a former porn star who is lured out of retirement to shoot one final scene, only things don't work out well. She is bound, interrogated, tortured, shot and left for dead, which understandably pisses her off. Over the course of the book, she pursues her revenge against the men who destroyed her life.

Like Staked, this book has a lot of heavy lifting to do in the first chapter: introduce us to a compelling character with an urgent problem, while also introducing us to the world the character inhabits and his/her place in it. I usually prefer a more leisurely approach to world-building, but as short as Money Shot is, it doesn't have time to dance around with a lot of delicate exposition. Instead, it spends the first few chapters doing some thorough scene-setting so that it can barrel ahead full-speed when the action starts.

But this is not just a by-the-numbers mystery/thriller. A book featuring a female lead in the sex trade could easily have come off as pedantic or preachy, but Money Shot manages to hit some thoughtful thematic notes while missing the obvious pitfalls that such a story could have fallen into. Faust has written an excellent story here, featuring a main character who is believably resilient and human. If you like old-school noir thrillers and aren't too offended by the porn industry, you should give this a read. Seriously.

Obligatory link to the youtube trailer here:

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