For a book entitled Lust, Money & Murder, the opening sex was very naively written, with no details at all, it didn’t have to be graphic but for the older teen and adult audience a little details is needed. Although the initial opening was good and gave me as a reader questions, like how did they meet? What sparked the attraction and sexual conquest?
Although we learn in the next paragraph the ‘naïve’ Maria is actually prostitute and her older gentlemen is actually performing some kind of experiment on her involving 50k in cash, a ‘missing’ passport and a casino in Rome.
We can see that this mysterious older gentleman is obviously a powerful man, as she doesn’t flee with the cash when he drop her outside the casino as many other people would have done, especially only having known each other 3 days. When she thinks about stealing the money and decides against it she uses the phrase “a man like him”. It makes me think he’s a gangster of some sort. The only reason for that is when I’ve read crime novels, gangster or mobsters (and there is a difference) always refer to themselves as ‘businessmen’, and what other kind of person would have 50k cash with their personal effects? Then it all falls into place, however, I don’t want to give you any spoilers, so let me just say that it’s a great twist.
The first chapter was a roaring success at drawing me in as a reader, and I’m a bit disappointed that the novella is only 68 pages long, as it has the potential to be an astonishing full-length novel. With the length of this story, it comes to no surprise that we then time skip in order to gain some background on the events of the first chapter. This also led to a massive theme swtich, which I loved. The fact the story changes dramatically from corruption, murder and sex, to a family theme kept me guessing as to what the author’s aim was. The family setting isn’t perfect, an adoring father, jealous mother – the role reversal here is great as the parent dynamic is usually seen the other way around – and then it collapses in on itself when the mother runs away with her assumed lover. And we time skip again.
I find that the use of time skips can be boring and detrimental to a story especially when the author is using it to bridge gaps in the plot they honestly couldn’t be bothering to fill in. But Mike Wells use of it is actually relevant to the progress of the storyline – I felt that if he had filled in the yearlong gaps the story would have been slowly pace, causing the reader to grow bored very early on.
There are so many plot twists in the book, Elaine’s modelling ‘career’, her father getting arrested/framed for passing counterfeit money at the bank. I swear if you like slightly erotic novels or crime stories then you will definitely love this book.
It’s absolutely amazing what a good author can do in so little pages. And the ending is just to die for. Overall, it was the perfect cliff-hanger as we have followed Elaine through her life including her joys and trails. I can’t wait to read book 2 as soon as possible. This book didn’t disappoint but I can’t say it was my favourite from the genre, although I expect a lot out of the second novella, I’m not expecting miracles.