Money Shot … comes … with lots of violence and a great, fast-paced story typical of the Noir genre and much better than most.  The fun and the thrills do not stop for a paragraph in this mystery novel. I pretty much thought I had encountered if not read just about every type of whodunit and thriller possible but this Hard Case Crime novel by Christa Faust is a whole new thing and Oh! Baby! Yes! … Money Shot starts with a dead broad getting out of the trunk of a car and it just gets more intriguing from there.

“Coming back from the dead isn’t as easy as they make it seem in the movies” is the opening line of Money Shot by Christa Faust and a good synopsis of this mystery. Former porn star and current model agency owner Angel Dare is left for dead in the trunk of a car and before she can resurface she has to find out why she was killed and the people responsible for her murder. Dare is a smart, tough cookie and is helped in her quest by her agency’s security guy and ex-cop Lalo Malloy.

Through former adult film star Angel Dare, Christa Faust opens the door to the X-Rated movie business and many unsavory aspects of it. She also manages to not open the door so wide that this whodunit is only about the setting.  If Dare survived nine years in this business it is because she is intelligent, strong, and self-reliant; all qualities she is going to need to literally get her life back. Angel Dare is one of the most interesting and original whodunit characters I have come across in a long time.

Christa Faust can definitely put together an enthralling mystery. She has a good writer’s eye and writes many passages that both sound good for her character and are interesting takes on the world: “I hate malls. They’re like strip clubs for women. All tease and sparkle and the empty promise that if you just drop enough cash, somehow you’ll be fulfilled.”

This is a thrilling, original, fast-paced, captivating read. It is also my favorite so far in the Hard Case Crime series. Money Shot would make a hell of a good movie. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tracy Lords optioned it.

Money Shot
Christa Faust
Hard Case Crime 2008
Paperback 252 pages

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