Tuesday, December 07, 2021

71. Money Shot by Christa Faust

I actually "discovered" (sounds weird, thus the quotations) Christa Faust on twitter via some other film noir fans.  Turns out she is an author of several books and graphic novels, aside from having excellent taste in movies.  I found this Hard Case paperback at S.W. Welch (7$!) and jumped in, needing some good old pulp fiction after the my recent fantasy binge.

I am happy to report this is the kind of excellent updating of classic pulp that we are getting more and more of.  It's basically a revenge story set in criminal L.A. except the protagonist, Angel Dare, is a woman, an ex-porn star and now talent manager.  She gets suckered to come in to do a shoot as a favour to an old director friend, ends up getting sucker punched and thrown in a trunk. We start in the trunk. You keep turning the pages.  I won't go into the plot any more than to say broadly that she has to figure out why this is happening to her, get out of it and then go hunt down the people responsible.  

This book is pretty rough, with sex violence and sexual violence.  Punches are not pulled.  What I really enjoyed beyond the basic ass-kicking premise is that you get a realistic, non-moralistic insider's look at the porn industry. It turns the book from what would otherwise still be a pretty entertaining pulp read into an informative and interesting expose as well  Lots of great (in the book, generally quite seedy and depressing in real life) locations, a wide range of colourful and often fucked-up characters all with realistic little details that lets you feel that Faust knows of what she writes.

I don't know what to say about what a book like this says about pulp and gender.  A smarter person than me should do a side-by-side analysis with Megan Abbott's Queenpin.  For me, it is just refreshing to read this kind of fiction from a female perspective where the women have agency and sexuality that is their own.  Good stuff.

Oh snap, there's a sequel with the same character!  I loved how this one ended, without a big explanation, but the nerdy part of me did want to find out how it all played out.  Very happy to add Choke Hold to my shopping list.

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