by Christa Faust
This is good, old-fashioned, hard-boiled, pulp fiction — with a twist.
The protagonist, Angel Dare (born Gina Moretti), is a woman. You can mash her, slash her and trash her, but you can’t keep her down.
This book offers all the things that its genre is known for — sex, violence, graphic descriptions, seamy settings and unsentimental characters — but with a woman’s perspective. A strong, hard-working woman, who can kill and who can rescue the downtrodden.
A well-known former adult video star, Angel was smart enough to leave film work and become a booking agent for adult models and dancers. She knew the business, had the contacts and could defend her clients in ways their boyfriends or pimps couldn’t — or wouldn’t.
Angel had a nice life — until Lia walked into her office carrying a brief case. Looking at her evasive green eyes, tense body language, undernourished body, expensive frosted hair and oversized Lakers t-shirt, Angel “saw nothing but trouble.”
The trouble she gets, however, is from sex traffickers who want a briefcase full of stolen money — their money.
As the book opens, Angel is regaining consciousness in the trunk of a Honda Civic. She’s been beaten, raped, tortured and seen a friend get shot in the kneecap before being stuffed naked into the trunk of the car and abandoned in an industrial area east of downtown Los Angeles.
She manages to get out of the car, find herself a smelly black trash bag to cover her nakedness and get to a phone to call her assistant Didi. Didi calls in Lalo Malloy, a former cop who has been working part-time for Angel’s agency doing security and protection work.
Together Angel and Lalo try to track down the now missing Lia and the briefcase, stay a step ahead of the thugs, find out what they are up to, and throw down vengeance on those who have harmed Angel and those close to her.
Along the way, you’ll get more than a few glimpses — neither sexy nor glamorous –at the adult entertainment industry. Angel is a character you want to root for: she’s loyal, courageous, creative and strong. She gets out of one tight spot after another using her wits and daring.
While she saves the day in the end, it comes at a price, leaving you with the tang of salt and vinegar — no sweetness and light here. If this genre is your bag, Money Shot is definitely a satisfying read.
It won the 2009 Crimespree Award and was nominated for Edgar, Anthony and Barry awards..