I set the blog up as a place to post my adult movie reviews. I never intended to post book reviews. But, thanks to Twitter I have been introduced to a new (to me) writer of crime fiction -- hard boiled crime fiction. It's writing with all the governors off, where anything goes, and often does.
The book is Money Shot by Christa Faust, once referred to by Quentin Terantino as "...a Veronica in a world of Betties." It was published in 2008 by Hard Case Crime. I only just discovered this gem, and I owe it to Twitter. I have no idea how Christa Faust and I ended up connected on Twitter. I dabble in writing erotica -- well, that's far too polite a word for what I write. It's porn. Stroke material. Some people like it, others find my style trite and insist that I'm mocking the genre. Sometimes I am. But, as usual, I digress. This little essay isn't about me. So let's just say that somehow we ran into each other.
It didn't take long to run into a list of Christa Faust's books. I decided Money Shot was a good place to start. Boy howdy.
This isn't Agatha Christy. There's no "Miss Marple" or "Poirot." No, this isn't your mother's crime fiction. This is crime fiction in the Mickey Spillane vein. Life is cheap in Faust's world and the heroes/heroines are just as likely to pull the trigger on a perp as to arrest him (or her). People die, including people the author suggests we should like.
In hard crime fiction it is often difficult to determine who the bad guys are because sometimes everybody is a bad guy.
Money Shot features a hard boiled heroine, if that's a word I can use here, who's a retired porn star running a talent agency. One of the interesting features of this book is the insider's glimpse the reader gets into the world of adult video production. It is a part of the story. Those of us who consume porn generally never see the sausage being made and we're better off for it if Faust's portrayal is accurate. She substantiated some suspicions I've had about porn for some time.
Angel Dare is the central character. Money Shot centers on her betrayal and subsequent quest for vengeance. There's no courtroom drama here. The police, when we see/hear of them are mainly in the way. This is justice at the personal level. People have killed Angel's friends and destroyed her business and she's not going to let that go. In the end, she becomes a cold blooded killer. I wonder what my comfort with that idea says about me?
Faust's writing style is economical. There's plenty of noir in this crime novel. Lots of grit, dirt, blood, sweat, tears, and a little (just a smidgen) of romance. The dark underbelly of the porn world is laid bare in this volume.
This book is not for every taste. Hard crime is a genre that goes back to the 20's-30's-40's-50's -- the era of the pulps. Lurid covers and stories with lots of violence and the heavy suggestion of sex. Hard men and even harder women populate the pulp world. Life is cheap and survival of the fittest is the real law of the street. If that's your dish, Faust serves it up hot and spicy.
I'd like to see Tarantino make this into a movie. I think it would be a huge hit.