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THE SEX CLUB by L. J. Sellers


By Theresa de Valence - Posted on 30 December 2007

THE SEX CLUB is a great read—well above average. The cover of the book is so provocative that the novel completely bypassed my To Be Read pile and I’m glad it did. The author maintains tension so well I stayed up four hours past my bedtime to finish the book.

A pipe bomb explodes in a birth control clinic. A fundamentalist Christian group is presumed responsible. The clinic nurse is worried about the sexual behaviour of a group of kids in their early teens, one of whom has died needlessly.

Religion, sex and politics—all present. THE SEX CLUB is published by Spellbinder Press who “offer mystery and suspense fiction that digs deep into provocative issues that other publishers fear.” Since it’s a vanity press, I feel compelled to point out that THE SEX CLUB is thoroughly professional: well written, well plotted, and well edited.

The story switches point of view among several characters, predominately the clinic nurse and the detective assigned to the case. The way in which these main characters are revealed is superb: little vital bits of data dropped like bread crumbs, irrelevant castoffs from the main story, until, lo and behold, we find ourselves immersed in the middle of a pudding—rich in motive and angst—yet completely bound by the complexities inherent in those bread crumbs.

The author sets the date/time sequence of odd events about 20 ± minutes earlier than its predecessor, a trick which in the beginning I found purposeless and annoying. Of course, by the end of the story, an awful lot might happen in those few minutes and we are nerve wracked.

Quite early in the story we find ourselves in the mind of the person who hid the bomb whose point of view, though not commendable, is quite comprehensible. Surprisingly we even develop some empathy for this bomber.

The main characters are likeable and we root for them, though their trail is not easy. They don’t have a clear path to the truth or resolution. In addition to their personal troubles, events are complicated by other people’s political agendas. None of this feels forced; the plot is smoothly intricate.

Things happen and tension steadily mounts. The excitement is balanced but increasingly intense. A well crafted story with an unexpected ending.

Extremely fulfilling.