I first heard of Christa Faust when I picked up a copy of the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 16 and read her story, “Tighter.” I’ve been a fan of hers since. Earlier this year, Dark Arts Books released SINS OF THE SIRENS, a four author collection, featuring short fiction from some of the hardest hitting women in the genre. Christa Faust was one of them. (Maria Alexander, Loren Rhoads and Mehitobel Wilson being the others.) Again, Christa’s stories blew me away.
When I heard that Christa was switching gears and had gone from writing horror to noir mysteries, I never doubted that she could pull it off. Though I did wonder if the visceral edge and (at times) painful honesty that I so appreciated in her short fiction would translate well into her new found niche. I’m happy to report that it has.
MONEY SHOT is one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. I’ve been reviewing books for about a year now for Dark Scribe Magazine. At times, I have encountered books that are painful to read. But not in a good way. I’ve read a couple of books in that time that have made me wonder why I ever wanted to review books in the first place. And then I have to remind myself why I did want to start reviewing books. I did it because I wanted to learn more about the craft, to analyze stories to figure out what works and what doesn’t in hopes that I will become a better writer because of it. Now if I could only wrap my mind around all the things Christa did right in this book, I might finally be on the right track.
More thoughts to come on the analytical side of why I enjoyed this book as a writer. I need to think that through a bit more before I start rambling.
What I can tell you as a reader is that Christa Faust takes you on a ride into a world (the adult film industry) that I don’t think has been explored honestly in modern fiction. That’s what gets me about Christa’s writing. It’s brutally honest. It hurts. It’s painful because what she’s saying about whatever fictional world she has her readers living in is true. It’s true and it hurts and I love it because there is no bullshit. She makes you look at situations that you would otherwise avert your eyes from and face them. As her characters make choices, the reader is forced to examine the choices they might make given similar circumstances. Facing those truths, being forced to examine who you really are, how far you might go if pushed, can be a fascinating mental exercise. I love it when an author gives me a reason to want to keep turning pages. I curse those authors when I have to put those kind of books down. Waiting to find out how it ends is hell. And if an author can get me that hooked, I’m happy to admit it.
So kudos to you, Christa. And to anyone who hasn’t read MONEY SHOT yet…you should.