The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

July 23, 2009

REVIEW: MONEY SHOT by Christa Faust

SYNOPSIS: Former video porn star and now the owner of an upscale adult modeling agency, Angel Dare gets bound, shot, dumped in a car trunk, and left for dead. And with no idea why. But she's going to find out why. And who. Oh, especially who.

REVIEW: Noir comes in all styles these days: Bleak, sleek, bold, gritty, detached, focussed, traditional, neo- and post- and so on. But you don't get much raunchy noir these days. Raunch fell out of fashion a while back, about same the time Mickey Spillane did. But books like Money Shot, by Christa Faust, make one remember when raunch was available on a metal rack down at the local drugstore (pre-CVS and Walgreen's world-conquering explosions); when a book like this one would have sat comfortably right next to William Goldman's Boys and Girls Together and just above some of those books for sale at Pop Sensation.

A bit raunchy (but not repellent), fast-paced, violent, occasionally funny, and a whiplash smart heroine - what lover of noir could ask for more? Angel Dare isn't the old 'whore with a heart of gold' stereotype. She's a woman who worked long and hard to acquire simple things like a home and business of her own. She's got determination and guts. She's also got a gun and she will use it. But that's nothing compared to what she can do with a roll of duct tape. Except that Angel has a touch of sentiment in her makeup, she would be a fitting mate to Westlake's Parker character. They both do 'getting even' really, really well.

Money Shot is a fast, fun read with terrific cover art. Tip o' the hat and many thanks to Michael for sending this book along to me.


  1. I'm glad you got a chance to read this. I had a similar take with the book. Ms. Faust is not a shy woman, or author. But she kept the story grounded, and moving. Thanks for the review, Corey.

  2. Nope, shy wouldn't apply to Ms Faust. She can sure keep a story moving.

  3. I'm teaching this alongside Maltese Falcon, Long Goodbye, Cotton Comes to Harlem, The Big Kill, One Lonely Night, The Hunter, and In Cold Blood this fall. It's a 50s paperback come back to life in a 21st century body. Great stuff.

    Your reference to my blog was unexpected. Thanks.


  4. Hey, you have a terrific blog, Rex. I laugh myself sick sometimes.

    What a great line-up. I wish I could be in that class.

  5. I just finished this book yesterday and agree with you. I thought it could have been a lot more raunchy, and though it was somewhat on the short side, there was a ton of action in it. I enjoyed your review!

  6. Huh! Is this a new release? I like a tough woman. I hadn't heard of this one, though. Sounds good. My TBR list is now long enough to wrap around the world at least once, I think!

  7. Kristie, books like this when they came out in the '50s, were always shorter than novels today. We've come to expect 350-400 page action thrillers. If a writer can tell a good story in 180 pages or so, I think it's great, just so the publisher doesn't hang me out for another 150 pages just to make me feel like I got my money's worth. Just one of the reasons I'm mad keen on Ken Bruen's books. He knows when to end a story.

    Jen, no, this book came out in '08. The Hard Case Crime imprint goes down the path of the old hardboiled '50s era paperbacks. I've not read near as many of them as I'd like but they've published some originals that are outstanding crime fic, as good as anything the big publishing houses are turning out. And they have that great retro cover art, that's unbeatable.

  8. The other Hard Case Crime book I read was by Ken Bruen called Bust. Looking over my comments, I said it was funny and the perfect length! Do you have any others of his that you would recommend?

  9. As far as I'm concerned, Ken Bruen walks on water. Start with Bruen's 'The Guards,' his first in the Jack Taylor series, and read the entire series. But not all back-to-back, you could become both homicidal and suicidal. Or you might try one of Bruen's standalones, like 'Once Were Cops.' Bruen's humor is ever ready, but 'ware, these books also have a dark side.