Publication Date: Available Now from Bonnier Zaffre
Source: Review Copy
If you can’t beat them – kill them
First there was Maestra. Then there was Domina. Now – there is Ultima.
Glamorous international art-dealer Elizabeth Teerlinc knows a thing or two about fakes. After all, she is one herself.
Her real identity, Judith Rashleigh, is buried under a layer of lies. Not to mention the corpses of the men foolish enough to get in her way.
But now, caught in the murderous crossfire between a Russian Mafia boss and a corrupt Italian police detective, Judith is forced to create an even more daring work of art – a fake masterpiece she must take to the world-famous auction house where she used to be a lowly assistant and sell for $150 million.
For Judith the prospect of putting one over her loathsome former employer and the world’s art establishment is almost as thrilling as the extreme sex she’s addicted to – especially when the price of failure is a bullet in the back of the head.
But exposing her new identity to the glare of the spotlight puts her at risk of an even greater danger. Like a beautiful painting stripped of its layers of varnish, something altogether different could be revealed.
A truth about her past even Judith might find shocking.
Love It. Hate it. Read it.
That’s the marketing for this one and it’s spot on. The entire trilogy has been marmite, I had a few eyebrows raised at me when I ADORED the first one (Maestra) and a few alternative eyebrows raised at me when I really DIDN’T LIKE the second one (Domina) so now you can all get your eyebrows ready again because I’ve just finished Ultima…
It was a whole load of fun. Art, sex and death basically with Judith out to create a masterpiece and get herself out from under the Russian Mafia the Italian Police and a whole plethora of other people who she’s managed to annoy over the course of her erotically charged and murderous journey. Unlike Domina where she became (in my opinion) introspective and dull, Judith is back to her old wisecracking, quick thinking self, with the art underworld coming vividly to life around her once more. Her resolution ultimately (yes I know) is typically Judith, but before that you have a rip roaring journey to go on and it really is fabulously compelling.
I’m a fan of so many levels of writing – what I want really is a banging good story that gets my blood up whether in annoyance or other emotion or one that I can rock right along with smiling all the way. Whilst I won’t forgive really honestly terrible writing I’m ok with it being imperfect IF the story engages me, which in different ways all three of these books did. I loved Judith as a character concept and the execution of her was coolly immersive, I wanted to know where she would end up. Intriguing is what it was. So the writing won’t win huge literary awards, that’s ok with me – I’m not sure Judith would know what to do with one anyway. Or perhaps I do…
The point is that Ultima, like Maestra and for those that did love it, Domina are purely entertaining novels – these are the very definition of beach reads and you really will either simply love them or hate them. Me? I’m on the fence because I loved half and hated half probably in the end. But I was entertained without a doubt. That one you can take to the bank.
Love It. Hate it. Read it.