Wed. Feb 26th, 2020

Read 4 Fun

Read the short reviews, read the book, comment

True Love and Blackmail and Sextapes

3 min read

Here is another type of novel that I would never normally choose to read, but I am happy that I did. I may have learned more than I ever wanted to know about the competition that goes on in the world of clothing design. There are also great details about the world of dance, as in ballet, and the world of modelling. For those who have struggled with diets and weight control schemes, there are anecdotes of calorie counting and diets which substitute health foods for comfort foods. So why would an old, could-care-less-about-diets guy read this? Because there are several good stories inside a nicely done larger one.

The Standout                                     by Laurel Osterkamp

We met Robin earlier in Promises, Promises, a much shorter work. In an earlier life Robin had naively entered into a sexual relationship which might be considered taboo. As this book begins, she is in a stage where she is ready to be married but wants to be totally honest with her prospective husband. Almost totally. There was a string of bad choices she had made in between Big Mistake One and this marriage, but she could gloss over them. Until threatening blackmail letters arrived for Robin. Then there were pictures and sex tapes. Worse yet, blackmail material began to arrive for Nick. Then there was the Facebook page. And a website. So, there is a lively sexual component to the novel.

The driving force for the novel is the attempt to find the identity of the blackmailer. Of course Robin wants to know. Nick believes the woman he wants to marry, most of the time, so he is interested in the search. Robin’s brother, Ted, who is playing out his own drama, even thinks of switching from broker to private detective just to help out his sister. And also to take a break from his wife and generally disappointing life.

Nick is struggling financially and feels himself too dependent on Robin. She is just getting by as a dress designer and, with faith in the future, doesn’t really mind being the breadwinner. An executive from a reality show centered on dress design and modelling competition contacts Robin with an offer that could make their financial situation secure. Robin has brand recognition from earlier reality show work. As she goes through various stages of the competition, more blackmailer suspects are considered and discarded.

Interesting characters abound. There is a Russian dancer; we are never sure if he is legally present in the country or not. There is Julie and Zelda, best friends except that Julie is fiercely jealous of Zelda. Zelda has a horrible relationship with her father and not much of a better one with her mother.

There is death, maybe by suicide. And a ghost. And a cliffhanger non-ending. And surprises. So I did not mind wading through the dress designing details. The supporting plots and subplots were worth it.



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