CHOKE HOLD by Christa Faust
“Do the things youāve done in your past add up to the person you are now? Or are you reinvented by the choices you make for the future? I used to think I knew the answer to those questions. Now Iām not so sure.”
Review by Guy Savage Ā (OCT 9, 2011)
Hard Case Crime is back after a short hiatus, and for avid fans, the line-up is impressive:Ā Quarryās Ex by Max Allan Collins (delayed release from a year ago),Ā Getting Off by Lawrence Block,Ā The Consummata by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, andĀ Choke Hold by Christa Faust.
Choke Hold is novelist and former peep show girl Faustās second title for Hard Case Crime, and itās a sequel to Money Shot. Faust is Hard Case Crimeās first female novelist, and if you think that means a tender, sensitive look at crime, then think again. Faustās protagonist is tough former porn star, Angel Dare, a woman who feels more comfortable giving a blowjob than extending a sympathy hug. In Money Shot, Angel, owner of an adult modeling agency came out of retirement for one last gig. Big mistake. The job is a set-up by some particularly nasty gangsters who are hunting for a briefcase full of cash. Angel, whoās raped, beaten and stuffed in the trunk of a car, finds herself on the wrong side of a prostitution ring.
Choke Hold (and the titleās meaning becomes clear as the story plays out) finds Angel living under an assumed name as a waitress in Arizona. She was part of the Witness Protection program for 19 months and attending mandatory therapy with a shrink named Lindsay:
āShe was always making these unequivocal statements about āwomen in my situationā that had nothing to do with how I actually felt. She also insisted that I was in denial about my āabuseā in the adult film industry. I could never talk to her about the things that were really on my mind. About the fact I didnāt feel like a poor violated victim at all. I felt like some kind of war veteran. Like Iād been forced to turn off something important inside me to become the killer I needed to be and I didnāt have any idea how to turn it back on again. To become an ordinary citizen again, if such a thing were possible. So instead I spent most of our time during the sessions with her by telling the raunchiest, kinkiest stories about my āabuse.ā I think she secretly got off on it. Poor Lindsay just needed a decent orgasm.ā
Angelās boring life under the Witness Protection program comes to an abrupt end when she realizes that her coverās been blown. With her emergency ever-packed, go-bag, ātwo shitty fake IDsā and a few grand in cash, Angel ran. Sheās in Arizona, waitressing, and providing after-hours entertainment for her boss trying to work off the expenses of a forged passport when her past catches up to her in an explosively violent way. Thick Vic, crankster and washed-up porn star, unexpectedly walks into Angelās diner and deathās along for the ride. From this moment until the novelās conclusion, itās non-stop action with Angel on the run from pissed off Mexican gangsters involved in illegal boxing matches and cocaine smuggling. And sheās also on the run from her old nemesis, brutal Croatian gangster, Vukasin.
Choke Hold moves the action from Arizona to the illegal boxing matches held in Mexico, to a Las Vegas porn convention with live-streaming action. Throughout the chase, Angel picks up two protectors, Thick Vicās cocky son, Cody and Hank āThe Hammerā–a legendary boxer whoās sunk to teaching in a tacky local gym, fighting illegal matches, and practicing a little loan enforcement on the side. Itās through Angelās relationship with Hank that this pulp novel shows its depth beyond the action. Angel never sees herself as a victim, but hereās sheās used and abused more than once in an industry in which no one rides for free. Hankās industry takes a similar approach. Heās boxed his way into physical damage and suffers permanent migraines and short term memory loss. Thereās a sad connection between Angel and Hank–a connection of two people who use their bodies to get by.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 23 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Hard Case Crime (October 4, 2011)|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Christa Faust|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||Read our review of:
With Poppy Z. Brite:
- Triads (2004)