Most helpful positive review
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant beach novel
on 11 July 2011
The Strip centers on three women: Kristin, Jennifer and Billie. From what I can tell, Billie was in J.J.'s first novel Tan Lines but we get sufficiently caught up on her story for it to not be a major issue. In fact, I wouldn't have known except for the fact that I read the Tan Lines synopsis. Anyway, these three women are all paying a male gigolo for his services, the beautiful Cam who had the potential to be a big NFL star until injury curbed that for him. Each woman has their reasons for seeing Cam, mainly because their husbands are failing them greatly, not only in the bedroom but in their lives in general. To make the story even more interesting, all of the girl's know each other. Jennifer is both Kristin and Billie's therapist and Billie works as a singer/dancer at the hotel Kristin's husband owns so they're friends.
The Strip is a world away from what I usually read, blockbuster novels not really being my cup of tea, but from time to time I do like a good trashy read and The Strip was that. The book isn't full of bedroom antics, despite seemingly being so, nor is it explicit in any way, but the whole glitz and glamour is still there in abundance. Which is surprising really because the book is far from a glitzy novel, it's more gritty, particularly as Cam ends up dead in the opening chapter before spooling back in time, leading up to Cam's untimely death as we try to figure out who was behind it. The book encompasses a lot of themes, infidelity a high one obviously, but also abusive relationships, what it is to be in a loveless marriage, among other things. Obviously with such an escapist read, all of the issues are put together into the melting pot and are left to see where it will all pan out in the end.
The characters in the novel are definitely larger than life. Billie and Kristin are both glamorous and insanely rich, having everything they desire (apart from the love of their husbands). They exude confidence and are unafraid to pay someone for the love and time they both crave. I found them both to be very appealing characters, and despite being a staunch anti-cheating person, Kristin, Billie and Jennifer's antics didn't bother me if only because their husbands were totally useless anyway. Jennifer was the more `normal' of all the characters, and I liked her, too. All three women had interesting stories and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them more. All three girls aren't people you'd usually assume would know each other under normal circumstances but they all got on well, particularly Billie and Kristin, I really enjoyed their friendship. I must admit that Cam Lawford intrigued me, he's like a male Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, and we have regular entries from the novel he's reading which allow us to get to know him better.
Whilst reading The Strip, I wasn't entirely paying attention to the writing, I was mainly just flipping the pages to carry on getting deeper into the story. But let me tell you this, the writing was addictive, and with the book being told in third-person, it allowed for a lot of scope and I found it very readable. The Strip probably isn't anything new, but I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the book. I loved the fact it was set in Vegas (where better to set a novel all about sin?) and I just enjoyed the book for what it is, a trashy beach read. It's the type of book you can take on holiday and can read whilst lying by the pool. It takes you out of yourself for a while and into a world that in undoubtedly something most people dream of (the glitz and glamour of it, anyway). I did wonder how the novel would end and I wasn't at all disappointed, it was as shocking as I expected it to be, and I found it very satisfying. I knew who had killed Cam, though only when we were pointed in that direction, I have to admit. I'm honestly really surprised at how much I enjoyed the book, and I'm so pleased I decided to give it a read, it was trashy at its best and Billie could definitely have a third novel, definitely pack this in your beach bag this summer.