Monday, August 11, 2008

Tan Lines by J.J. Salem

ISBN: 978-0312374150
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Hardcover: 320 pages
Genre: Fiction
First Line: Oh, I think You Tube captures it much better than I ever could.
One Word Review: Sizzling
The lives of three very different women converge one summer as they share a Hampton's beach house for the season in this sexy thriller. A liberal feminist writer, an actress/waitress/kept woman, and a perpetually high (or low, as the case may be) singer, the women seemingly have nothing in common but for the fact that they're all on the verge of self-destruction.
I have to be honest. I was ready to put this book down for good after the first 30 pages. J.J. Salem appeared up until that point (and slightly after that point) to be going simply for shock value. Incessant four letter words intermingled with non-stop sexual content of the graphic, not something you want your Sunday School teacher to catch you reading, sort. This book is being marketed to women, yet, it was very male in its execution. Ok, so what does that mean? I can't really explain it, but I stopped at page 20, looked at my husband and said "This has to have been written by a man." I flip to the back flap, and yes, J.J. Salem is in fact of the XY variety. What does this prove, you ask? Nothing, really. But, there was an overwhelming masculine feel during the first few chapters. It lessened to some extent from that point, however.
So, obviously I got past page 30. I decided to forge ahead and give it at least 50 pages before giving it a guilt-inducing heave. The thing is, by the time I got to page 50, the sexual stuff seemed less like the story, and more like the underlying theme I think it was intended to be. I'm not sure where the shift came exactly, but I became engaged with the characters, and I wanted to see how (and if) they survived their sin-filled summer.
Is this novel for you? Well, if you can get past the x-rated content (or happen to enjoy that), it's really quite a terrific book. There's edge-of-your-seat suspense, a captivating plot, characters that are, if not likable, at least sympathetic, and enough sex, drugs, and rock and roll to keep you satisfied. If your sensibilities are such that you're easily offended, then I can unequivocally say that this is not the book for you. But if you want a story with a little grit and a lot of heat, then pick up Tan Lines. It won't disappoint.


Anonymous said...

"A little grit and a lot of heat" ... that's an accurate description!

I laughed at what you wrote about not wanting your Sunday School teacher to catch you reading it ... we were at the Pond a few weeks ago and I was sitting on the beach reading *Tan Lines*. The woman next to me was reading the current issue of The New Yorker. I kept slinking further down into my chair so she wouldn't see the cover of my book!

bookfool said...

I'm going to have to find the time to get this one read! I gave it to my 26 year old daughter, thinking I could con her into doing a "guest" review for me, she gave it back unfinished. She said it was too steamy for her, she was embarrassed that a flight attendant on the airplane might look down and see what she was reading! Hmm...too steamy for a twenty-something? I guess we mom's are made of sterner stuff!!