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Hell hath no fury like a scorned woman who finds out that all her friends knew her shame.

B.J. Almond is used to being the queen bee. The wife of an NFL head coach, she has adopted his top status in the wives' hierarchy, lording her no-nonsense attitude and slightly conservative personal style over her coterie of assistant coaches' wives. Not that her designer duds aren't as costly or her pleasures any less extravagant, but neither her necklines nor her morals have plunged quite so much as her juniors' have in order to keep their marriages together. Small wonder then, that when B.J. walks in on her husband fooling around with one of their own, she's furious—and when she realizes that all her so-called friends knew, she's madder still. Her planned revenge includes a tell-all book, in which she threatens to use all the knowledge she has gathered as the take-charge go-to gal of their clique, dirt her agent promises will make her book a bestseller. As she holes up in the Ritz, supposedly writing, she recalls them all—the time she had to rescue one friend who was left nude and dazed in a no-tell motel, the trip she took so another could get anonymous treatment for an STD—in lurid detail. In between her racy rememberings, the other gals scurry to salvage their lives of immense privilege and, occasionally, love. The fallout gets worse when one woman threatens to write her own book and another turns violent. But the real passion in this African-American-targeted fantasy by Tucker (Daddy by Default, 2010, etc.) is for the Jimmy Choos and other expensive paraphernalia that these women accept as their due. While the sex scenes are written with titillation in mind (all bodies are hard, all passion peaks), it's the fashion that really excites these women and, most likely, the readers who choose to give them their time.

Payback may be dirty, nasty and mean, but all dressed up, it provides a guilty pleasure for the reader.



Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59309-315-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2011


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