Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pg. 69: Susan Diamond's "What Goes Around"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Susan Diamond's What Goes Around.

About the book, from the author's website:
What Goes Around is part murder mystery, part caper and all about revenge. More specifically, it’s about the rewards of a good revenge, “good” meaning both justified and well-done.

The story features five women who set out to avenge the death of a friend at the hands of three of the most powerful men in California. They know only that the body of Ginger Pass was found on a path outside an exclusive men’s club during the club’s summer retreat, and they alone know that Ginger worked secretly as a high-priced call girl. Drawing on their own intelligence, professional connections and moral outrage, the five -- a financially savvy widow, the owner of a chain of sports clubs, a dermatologist, an estate lawyer and a deputy tax assessor -- piece together what happened and plot a necessarily anonymous and covert revenge against each man. And in the course of carrying out this campaign, each woman finds the conviction to change her own life.

Polly, Kat, Dinah, Charlotte and Justine are not practiced sleuths but competent, successful women in their thirties and forties -- thoughtful, witty and ironic. They’re also aware that what they’re doing is morally valid but dangerous ... and thus doubly satisfying.

For all the action and adventure, revenge is a fairly dark concept and the themes of the story are serious: the way success breeds success, the righting of wrongs, the power of friendship, and the thin line between life and death, public and private life, achievement and discontent.
Among the praise for What Goes Around:
"In Diamond’s sparkling debut, five determined L.A. women -- Polly, Kat, Dinah, Justine and Charlotte -- set out to avenge the murder of their friend, Ginger, a society matron turned high-class call girl.... Careful research, clever plotting and credible characters enhance this intelligent vengeance quest."
--Publishers Weekly

"Diamond, a former writer for the Los Angeles Times, pens a satisfying novel of revenge and female empowerment mid the movers and shakers of Los Angeles.... Strong, genuine characters make this more than a simple tale of murder and the clever machinations of revenge."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Former Los Angeles Times writer Diamond has set her first novel among the privileged of L.A.... [T]he book manages to keep the reader invested and rooting for this team of women to the end."

"Diamond’s latest is replete with carefully planned schemes executed by five women bent on avenging the murder of their friend.... L.A.’s savviest self-help group has designed a plan so diabolical that it could bring down three of the most powerful men in California in this laugh-out-loud tale of vengeance and self-discovery."
--Romantic Times
Susan Diamond was a fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and spent seventeen years at the Los Angeles Times as a feature writer and columnist. She has worked for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Time, People, and the Village Voice.

Read an excerpt from What Goes Around and learn more about the book and the author at Diamond's website.

The Page 69 Test: What Goes Around.

--Marshal Zeringue