Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Every Shade Of Blue
Every Shade Of Blue
by Linzi Drew-Honey
Matador ISBN: 978-1784625306
I’ve talked about Linzi Drew (aka Linzi Drew-Honey) before on this blog. As well as being a very famous British ‘glamour model’ she also had small roles in various films ad TV shows including work with directors like John Landis (she appears in An American Werewolf In London) and Ken Russell (she appears in a few, if memory serves). I reviewed her long out of print but incredibly illuminating autobiography, Try Everything Once Except Incest And Morris Dancing, here but I had no idea that it would be my honour to meet this thrilling lady in person, earlier in the year when she did a signing at the Camden Film Fair. It was here that I picked up a personalised copy of the first of two (to date) erotic romances which she has written and it is furthermore my pleasure to have very recently read said tome, Every Shade Of Blue. This is surely a title attempting to cash in on the ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ market (with a further layer of reference in the title, perhaps, by recalling Linzi’s time as a sexy host of the Electric Blue videos of days long gone). There’s not many, I am sure, more qualified to write about this stuff than Linzi, that’s for sure.
Now, I’m not all that practiced at reviewing (or indeed reading) erotica, having just a few other erotic novels on this blog and this one, well, it took me by surprise. I already knew Linzi could write (see my review of her autobiography) but this novel definitely revels in the pulpy nature of a certain, steamy style of erotic literature and, frankly, this was almost a refreshing change from some of the stuff I’ve read in the past.
The novel is basically about a triangle of the three main ‘players’ of the book... the adventurous divorcee Suzanne which, honestly, I couldn’t help but equate, to a certain extent, with the writer herself and her two ‘rivals’ for love and carnal delights, the ‘good guy’ doctor Sebastian Black and the ‘bad guy’ Angelo.
The writer wastes no time in giving character descriptions which give a sense of just who these people... and their co-stars... are and she does this in the way someone like Douglas Coupland or Bret Easton Ellis might do it, by giving lots of descriptions of the details and minutia of the characters lives with products and brands etc being emphasised as a kind of shorthand into the kinds of people they are. So clothes, food, watches etc and the variations of these kinds of items are all highlighted, helping build up a picture of the people who populate the novel. This is very much a literary form of ‘clothes maketh the man’, so to speak and she does this with a good turn of phrase and a certain sincerity which might, in some other writers’ works, seem a little hollow.
The book is very quickfire and easy to read, with each chapter told from the viewpoint of a certain character and with each of these chapter sections titled up, documentary style, with the character’s name and the date in which the action takes place... which gets more important as the story progresses and the timing for the characters gets more crucial to the impetus of the main plot. This also allows the author to cut to the chase a little more rapidly using section signifiers like scene shifts and present scenes with vast swathes of trivia edited out... just like you’d get with a location transition in a movie... which I thought was a useful approach.
The book is full of sex, of course, especially in the first and last quarter of the tale... with some nice and somewhat light hearted phrases to sum up the state of her character’s respective headspaces. So, for instance, in a ‘stealth airplane sex’ sequence near the start of the novel, we get stuff like...
“She was shocked as she felt her nipples harden. Take-offs always thrilled her, but this was so much more.”
Some thrillers have a high body count as bad guys are violently dispatched to increase the excitement and enhance the credibility of the central hero in the milieu in which he finds himself. Similarly, Linzi’s book has a high orgasm count... in fact, the lead heroine had already had a couple before I was even up to page 9. And throughout a lot of the book she finds herself, in the writer’s own words... “awash with orgasm.” Which I thought was a nice turn of phrase but it’s not just the sexual shenanigans that make for some evocative writing. I thought, for instance, that “Ruby studs adorned her ears and she had painted her lips a slash of sticky blood red” was particularly nicely done at invoking a certain eye for colour co-ordinating in the main protagonist while being similarly evocative of a penchant for the almost subliminal invocation of body fluids throughout the course of the story.
As it is, I felt I actually believed in some of the characters somewhat and not just the lead protagonist, who wears clothes made of material that “second-skinned her feminine curves”. I soon found myself suitably in suspense somewhat as the book leads to a climax which isn’t quite written as I’d expected... which is no bad thing, of course. I was a little taken aback that the main villain of the piece was someone who practices a heavy BDSM lifestyle because, frankly, this is as valid a form of sexual expression as any other and so equating it with ‘the bad guy’ wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to read but, there are plenty of recipients who seem to be enjoying certain aspects of this lifestyle in the novel too so I’m not going to make any judgements on this. I don’t think this was necessarily a conscious decision on the part of the writer. Or, if it was, then I’m sure the matter was well considered, hence the enjoyment of said practice with some of the other characters.
That being said, while I believed in the characters, I did come away on several occasions disappointed that both the main male protagonist and antagonist had ridiculously huge amounts more stamina than I do. I couldn’t be performing like they do under similar superhuman circumstances, I’m sure (and not for want of trying, I suspect). However, I did find the book quite credible most of the time and, more importantly, extremely entertaining... if distracting to my daily routine on more than one occasion.
In conclusion, then, if you’re into erotica and want to read a sex soaked tale written by someone who, given her past life experiences, is more than qualified to know what she is talking about, then definitely give Every Shade Of Blue a go. For my part, I find myself looking forward to the next novel in the series, Every Shade Of Black but I am waiting before I purchase said tome to see if Linzi will be doing anymore Camden Film Fairs in the near future as I’d surely like to get the second volume personalised too... not to mention meet the lady again after first seeing her on my TV all those years ago. Fingers crossed I get that opportunity sometime soon then.