SJI Holliday has been reading crime fiction since she was able to hold a book. She writes short stories and her debut novel, Black Wood was published in spring 2015. You can find out more at www.sjiholliday.com.
Stella is an escort, immersed in a world of desire, betrayal and secrets. It’s exactly where she wants to be. Stella used to be someone else: respectable, loved, safe. But one mistake changed all that.
When a fellow call girl is murdered, Stella has a choice: forget what she’s seen, or risk everything to get justice for her friend. In her line of work, she’s never far from the edge, but pursuing the truth could take her past the point of no return.
Nothing is off limits. Not for her – and not for them.
But no one is truly untouchable.
* * *
The key element of this book is the strong voice of the protagonist, Stella. She’s an escort, a good one, at that – and she’s no fool – scenes of her battling over her tax returns add an element of stark reality amidst the lingerie and sex toys. But Stella is also Grace – and she has to face constant battles with herself and her loved ones about who she really is and what she wants.
The ‘glamorous’ sex parties that Stella and her colleagues host are disturbing and fascinating in equal measure, and the types of characters who employ these high-class escorts are nicely drawn, without being stereotyped. Despite the subject matter, the book doesn’t feel seedy – it feels all too real.
The language is crisp, direct and often humorous in tone, the storyline is intriguing, the observation is excellent and the pacing is spot on. You want to know who Stella was and what happened to her ‘before’ – and little snippets of her past-life and her old friends are neatly woven and drip-fed throughout, as Stella finds herself embroiled in the murder of a colleague and with several unsavoury characters on he tail. She’s an extremely likeable heroine, and the author has drawn her and the entire supporting cast with astute characterisation.
Deeply alluring and total compelling, Untouchable is one of my stand out reads of 2015.