Reviewed by Emma Crowley
A shocking betrayal deserves a wicked revenge . . .
Stunning, charismatic Lexy O’Brien is the reigning queen of British reality TV. Her life in front of the camera is planned and manipulated as successfully as any military assault.
But success breeds jealousy. When you’re on top, the only way is down and there’s always someone standing by to give you a shove . . .
Dowdy Caroline Evans, a part-time blogger and writer of erotic fiction, is brought in to chronicle Lexy’s life. Being taken under Lexy’s wing is a dream come true for Caroline. But sampling the star’s lifestyle is like tasting the most addictive of drugs, and it’s not long before she is craving what she can’t possibly have – or can she?
And as Caroline and Lexy’s lives and loves become increasingly entwined, it’s only a matter of time before the hidden rivalry becomes a powder keg waiting to explode . . .
Killer Affair is only the second book I have ready by Rebecca Chance following on from last years publication Killer Diamonds which I absolutely adored. This new book is certainly very different from the one I had read before and even now a week or so after I finished reading it I still don't know quite what to make of it. It's not that it was a bad book but in my opinion it wasn't as good and absorbing as the previous story. I did find it overly long and there were times I came quite close to putting it down as it was just dragging too much but I persisted to the end because I really wanted to know the eventual outcome for the two main characters. The story felt very slow to get off the ground and there could have been plenty left out which would have moved the story on more. Some of the sentences were very clunky and I found myself rereading several times to make sure I got the meaning as to what the author was trying to say. There was a decent story here waiting to be told but I felt it got lost with every cliché in the book being thrown in and every celeb reference or controversial social topic being utilised. Maybe the term less is more should have been applied at certain points.
The story follows two women who when we first meet them couldn't be more different in every way. Lexy is an expert reality star, married to ex footballer Frank. Instantly and in the way Lexy's character develops I could see in some ways she was modelled on a certain 'celeb'. To these kind of people fame is everything and they know the ins and outs and every little trick in which to achieve maximum exposure and attention, with the ultimate goal of achieving glory, fame and fortune. They would do anything to get a story in the Daily Mail side bar (who hasn't lost hours scrolling through the stories which can be found here?)
Lexy is a relentless self publicist, always thinking of the next thing which will get her name on everyone's lips. Her career and her appearance are her everything and behind closed doors one would think that she is a totally different person. Someone who when the cameras are off she is happy to sit back and chill and enjoy life with her family but that is not the case as her children Laylah and London run rings around the nannies as the affection they need is never provided by Lexy. Lexy's life is comparable to that of a real life soap opera and all the little tricks celebs use in real life to attract attention are shown here. The author let us into the other side of the story that we never see as celebs now for the most part have such control over how their persona is portrayed to the public. Lexy is filming a reality show chronicling her life but she also wants to branch out by publishing her autobiography blending fact and fiction. The trouble is she's just not good at writing and where would she find the time anyway, that's where Caroline steps in.
If Lexy is loud, brash and attention seeking then Caroline is the polar opposite. She is meek and prefers to go under the radar. She believes she is boring due to her lack of sophistication and chicness. She works in normal job that doesn't bring her any satisfaction. She writes dull press releases for a media company but behind it all she longs to write her own book and get a publishing deal some day. Before she knows it she has met Lexy and visited her home and is employed to write Lexy's book with a strict deadline. So this mightn't have been what Caroline had in mind when we discovered her long term ambition but she views it as a step in the right direction. The trouble is Caroline gets too involved in Lexy's life in the name of research and before long the tables are turned, the roles reversed and in the process my opinions of the two characters changed also.
In the beginning it was Lexy who I felt we weren't meant to like. She came across as this typical z lister featured on so many reality shows who can barely formulate an opinion or thought of her own but as Caroline becomes more entrenched in Lexy's life and her family the positions change and it was Caroline I detested. Such a turn around for a character who became very wise to the overall game and how to take note of every little thing which then in turn could be used at just the appropriate moment. Caroline became vindictive and someone out for her own gain and would do anything to get what she wanted. On reflection I don't think I really overly liked either woman but as the story progressed it was Lexy who I felt sympathy for and Caroline was the one who I didn't really enjoy reading about.
At first Caroline was all sweetness and light and just an average girl with hidden ambitions which showed no signs of ever bearing fruit. But she had a total personality change and I don't think I've read such a total transformation between two characters in a book before. Such a role reversal ensued. So this strand of the story I did think was good it's just the way some of the other aspects of the storyline were executed I would say became too far fetched even though some of them could be based on fact.
I just think every little social nuance or celeb expose in the past year or two was used in this book and it felt as if I had read all this before (maybe that's because I am so addicted to social media). It didn't feel fresh or new even the 'survivor/island castaway' type show which features was modelled on a very well known programme we all watch every year. I felt the need for something more innovative and for it not to be as if it was taken from somewhere else having being filed away and noted at the time for use in a book. As the rivalry intensified between the pair and Caroline is the one attracting all the attention the story did ramble on a bit and what I felt was missing for me was that slight element of mystery and suspense which I had enjoyed in the previous book. I really wanted the story to just build and build to an incredible, jaw dropping, shocking finale but it just wasn't present here. I didn't get that big moment of reveal I really enjoy in books in this genre but it all felt like a damp squid and flat.
As previously mentioned I didn't know what to make of this book and it's not because of the very detailed and graphic sex scenes. Like anyone I love this kind of read every now and again but I just think I have read better books in this genre by the likes of Victoria Fox or Nigel May for example. The book initially did grab my attention but unfortunately it then wandered and I think the character of Frank was partly why I kept reading. There was something just so down to earth and genuine about him. I felt he really did love Lexy and the children and wasn't in to all the celeb drama.He just wanted a quiet life after his career. I thought Caroline saw he had some weak points and she went for them and exploited them to her advantage. She was a prime example of a docile little kitten who turned into a roaring tiger knocking everyone in her path. The tables had been turned and rivalry and exploitation were the game. The question was who would triumph and at what cost?
I'd love to be able to say I enjoyed every minute of Killer Affair but I didn't. It could have been amazing but it didn't deliver the enthralling read I had experienced when reading Killer Diamonds. If you want something to pass a few hours on a sun bed on holiday this year that won't require deep thought than this is the one for you. It's not the best bonkbuster I have read but it was packed full of conflict and revenge which I'm sure will keep many readers entertained this summer .
Many thanks to Pan MacMillan for my copy of Killer Affair to review via NetGalley and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.