A Hollywood celebrity’s motocross trip with her sister hits hazards along the way, especially with a travel companion moonlighting as a drug mule, in this thriller.
Catrina Lang’s latest film, Darkstar, has made her a household name. With fans and paparazzi constantly hounding her, she’s more than ready to get away, riding bikes to Baja with Sissy, her motocross-racing sister. Cat’s not happy about the unexpected guest, Sissy’s teammate Rey, but Cat needs to look like a polished off-road rider for the lead in a prospective film based on Sissy. Unbeknown to the siblings, however, Rey is a drug mule who dabbles in some of the product she’s transporting. As the women face dangers on the road, like riding in rain, Rey’s illicit deeds likewise put the group at risk, especially after a mugger attacks them and steals the mule’s hidden stash. Rey, feeding Cat a sob story about her sickly father, gets the unsuspecting movie star to front pesos for replacement drugs. But Rey swallowing balloons of heroin doesn’t turn out so well, and federales arrest the trio, both Rey and Cat winding up in prison. Cat, with the help of Sissy on the outside, works a deal for an early release, but the sisters may have to rely on the untrustworthy Rey one last time. Much of the novel’s first half is an absorbing family drama. Cat, for one, doesn’t initially like Rey because of her solid connection to Sissy, who seems to resent the actress’s fame and wealth. Avery (Lightning in my Wires, 2010) maintains the riveting tension throughout, ultimately boosted by Rey’s eventual exposure. The thriller portions, relegated to the final act, make for blistering set pieces, including a gory Day of the Dead—though the prison scenes are disappointingly short. Cat tends to grumble about her Hollywood life but her complaints are generally unfounded: she’s tired of being typecast as a “brittle bombshell” but just played a superhero in the hugely successful Darkstar. Nevertheless, she braves numerous obstacles, all while completely out of her element. And she learns that stardom has its downside but is certainly preferable to incarceration, with family trumping all.
A protagonist whose journey is both poignant and traumatic.