Tuesday, 7 February 2012

“LUXURY” BY JESSICA RUSTON




Picture it, May 2011, I’m in a bookstore doing—what else—shopping, when I glimpse at this fetching cover of a young woman seated on what looks like a slightly rumpled bed. Her face is half-hidden, à la SHOWGIRLS. The title LUXURY is printed across her perky breasts clad in a silver-beaded sheath. I immediately pick it up and, right then and there, know that I have found my summer read. Yes, I can be that shallow sometimes. Of course I turn it over and glimpse at the back cover teaser. I am furthermore intrigued. Hotels, wealth, revenge; right up my alley. I turn it over again. Hmm. Jessica Ruston; never heard of her. I buy it anyway. And I plunge right in. I read the first 50 pages and I’m sold.


LUXURY revolves around a family who owns lavish hotels all over the world but just can’t seem to hold on to each other. There’s debonair Logan Barnes who’d rather work himself to the bone than take care of his anxiety-ridden wife and his two spoiled children (well, actually one: the daughter is the real trouble maker). There’s handsome Nicolo Flores who a long time ago got dissed by Barnes on a multi-million dollar project and now seeks vengeance—big time. And there’s a slew of secondary characters who fit in just at the right spot. The novel has an ‘80s feel to it, with many scenes of great opulence, stunning settings, beautiful people. There’s also booze, pills, skin, debauchery... The plot is well-constructed and intricate once you get into the scheme of things. The characterization is top notch, and Ms. Ruston knows how to keep her readers’ interest perked up. The novel reminds me of Judith Krantz; the best of Judith Krantz, that is; anything before I’LL TAKE MANHATTAN.

 
I got to admit, though the climax rocks big time and makes me want to return to the Barnes ASAP (say it’ll happen, Jessica; say it.), the novel looses some steam near the end. Perhaps it’s due to the plot that starts to feel a little stretched out once the dust settles; or maybe the handling is not as sharp as it should be. Who knows. But, one thing’s for sure, for a debut novel, LUXURY is quite grand. You should definitely pick it up if you happen to see it. Ms. Ruston already has a second book out (in the UK, in the US and in Canada) and another is soon under way. They’ll most definitely be reviewed here. I don’t have a choice now, I got myself another great author to brag about.





Until next post—Martin



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