Clay Stuart’s career is left by the wayside despite pressure from his only real friends—his agent, manager, and secretary, watching the tortured man suffer in silence. Thinking of ways to get him out of the rut, they take Clay to his old haunts, yet his past hobbies of hunting, fishing, and womanizing fail to pull him out of his misery. And that is when Clay’s troubles really begin: when he becomes acquainted with Joanne Stark, Clay moves from depression to complete obsession. Is he finally recovering from the finality of his wasted marriage, a sign of Clay’s return to the real world? Or is this dangerous tramp luring him farther down the rabbit hole, the ubiquitous gold-digger his friends and family tried to protect him from…
Let’s be clear, here: the book is a very slow-burn, and is more of a human drama than a crime caper. For Don’t Speak To Strange Girls, those are not flaws, they are the book’s assets. Whittington’s more-than-capable prose drew me into the story and kept me reading, and I was rewarded with rich, deep characters caught up in a tense struggle of human drama: a battle of love. In this case, it’s whose love is stronger—Clay’s love for Joanne, Joanne’s lust for fame, or the love of Clay’s friends and family for the broken and obsessed actor. It’s a fight between Clay’s internal selfishness and his self-sacrifice. It’s pretty compelling stuff.
(Full review found here.)
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