BOOK REVIEW: TWERK
Unabashedly raw and sexy, TWERK is the latest novel by author Isobel Blackthorn of Melbourne, Australia. One part crime thriller and one part pure nightmare fuel, TWERK is set in the gritty yet dazzling world of Las Vegas’ strip clubs.
Amber thinks she has met the man of her dreams when she has a spontaneous encounter with a paramedic. That dream is quickly shattered when she learns that he is a sadistic kidnapper and not the boyfriend material she originally took him for. Meanwhile, friend and co-worker Lana hustles her way through a weekend of work as a dancer at one of Las Vegas’ popular strip clubs. She investigates the suspicious death of a patron while taking us through the ins and outs of her job, all the while unaware that Amber is being put in increasing amounts of danger.
If you’re curious about the life of a stripper, TWERK is the perfect novel to read. From the glamorous to the mundane, it leaves nothing out and describes things in incredible detail. The novel comes off quite genuine as Blackthorn has insider knowledge of what it is like to work in a strip club. She mentions her daughter is a high profile stripper who was able to give first-hand accounts of dealing with customers and the everyday, the relationships between dancers and all the little things involved in her profession. With this book, Blackthorn is aiming to break the mainstream misconceptions and stigma she has noticed that surround the industry.
If you’re as bloodthirsty as I am and like your crime thrillers violent and gory, TWERK delivers. The novel delves into the realm of horror with its rollercoaster of manipulation, torture and cat and mouse games. I would agree that TWERK is pretty accessible to all readers, despite the possibility it could involve some limbs being cut off.
TWERK is split between two women’s point of view which was a great way to keep the tension going. Just as we find out what horrible thing is to happen next to our kidnapped dancer, the novel takes us back to inside the club- leaving us to read on in anticipation. If I had one thing to pick at with this book it would be the repetitive nature of the strip club. Perhaps this was intentional, to show that exotic dancing can be as unremarkable as working a 9 to 5 in any other profession. Some chapters were a slog to get through and I just wanted them to be over out of boredom. Another thing bringing down my enjoyment of TWERK was that the protagonists were hard to relate to. Talk of making thousands of dollars and obsessions with appearance combined with too much focus on the amount of Instagram followers the characters have, left me feeling indifferent to their plights.
TWERK comes into the genre just as it is shaking things up for sex workers. This year CAM recently took us all by storm as it finished its festival run and arrived on Netflix. CAM has been praised and rightly so, for portraying the reality that is camming and now with TWERK we can see into what it’s like to dance and strip for a living. TWERK shows sex workers in a positive light just for what they are: hard working people, and it shows sex work for what it is: work.
An erotic thriller full of sex and violence TWERK sets out to titillate and it succeeds. Full of scenarios that would be anyone’s worst nightmare, it is definitely a heart pounding read.
“An erotic thriller full of sex and violence, TWERK sets out to titillate and it succeeds.”
2 1/2 Tombstones out of 5…