Thursday, September 27

Peepshow - Leigh Redhead

Simone Kirsch always wanted to be a cop, but her three years as a stripper made that impossible. Instead she takes the second best option and begins training as a PI, a new career that comes in handy when her best friend (and fellow stripper) Chloe is accused of murder. Simone returns to the seamy underworld of illicit sex to uncover the truth. In the process she falls in lust, gets caught up with a rockabilly band, and set up by a corrupt cop.
I really should have written my review before reading Lynn's, because I find I have nothing substantial to add! Like her I found the battering over the head of the fact that we're in Melbourne extraordinarily painful and almost always unnecessary: "We drove down Hoddle Street past the housing commission flats then down CityLink and the Monash Freeway...", "I took him down Broadway towards Glenhuntley Road and turned left at the Elwood canal," "The gym was up Glenhuntley Road, across the Nepean Highway where Elwood turned into Elsternwick," and my favourite, "As I passed the [Queen] Vic markets on Peel Street...". If you don't know Melbourne, the street name means nothing, and if you do then you already know where the Queen Vic market is. And I could really have done without the detail, every single time, of which tram she was getting on and off.
I have to disagree with Lynn on one point - the references weren't always completely spot on. At one point Leigh (the character) talks about the stress of doing a hook turn (where you turn right from the left hand lane) and says she always worries about a tram going up her arse if she's not fast enough - the point of the hook turn is to avoid delaying trams within the city, which is why you have to turn from the lane they're not in. The only way to come to tram-related grief is to turn directly in front of one in motion (seen that more than once), or get hit by a tram that's jumped the tracks, and in that case we've all got bigger worries!
I have to admit that's a lot of moaning for a tiny plot error, but that's how easily I found myself brought out of the novel. The plot was interesting enough, but the writing was not quite accomplished enough. I wouldn't recommend it to any innocent punter who thinks the women stripping are doing it for any reason other than money - as a DJ says at one club, "You gotta hand over the cash if you wanna see some gash, yeah."
I was unconvinced by how readily and frequently the character's knickers dampen, and agree with Lynn that we all already know the sex industry contains women who have kids, degrees and lives, as well as women with drug issues, abusive childhoods and pimps.That said, I didn't hate it, and if the next Redhead novel crosses my path I'll probably give it a burl - but if there's no improvement, that's it. - Alex

To read Lynn's review of this book, click here

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