In this follow-up novel to her 2012 debut, Into the Darkest Corner, British writer Haynes once again follows a woman navigating dangerous waters.
Genevieve hated every minute of her high-pressure corporate job. Then she stumbled upon pole dancing as a way to exercise and let off steam. The more she dances, the better she becomes, and soon she’s working at a private and very exclusive men’s club on weekends, making big money. But, as with all things that seem too good to be true, there is a catch: The club’s owner, Fitz, is shady, and many of his dealings are not legal. Soon, Genevieve also must deal with her heinous boss showing up at the club and making her life miserable at her day job. Finally fulfilling her lifelong dream to buy and live on a houseboat, she manages to get hold of enough money to buy an old barge and fix it up, but that leads to even more intrigue, with a mysterious package, the death of a friend whose body is dumped in the water near Genevieve’s boat, new neighbors at the marina and a man who may or may not be using her. The story is told by flashing back and forth between the present, when Genevieve works contentedly on her boat as her past races to catch up with her, and the past, when, as Viva, she swung half-naked on a pole and pandered to men for money. Although the story is engaging and keeps the reader wondering, Genevieve’s behavior, while good for moving the plot along, makes no sense from the perspective of a single woman alone and in danger. And, in the end, most readers will experience a profound sense of much ado about nothing when the mystery comes to light.
The story of a not very virtuous young woman whose secrets threaten to destroy others is well-told but ultimately a letdown.