I'm no stranger to guilty pleasure reads: I adore Jacqueline Susann, I revel in nasty rock and roll bios, and sexy historical fiction makes me swoon. But Jackie Collins's novel Lovers and Gamblers (a book that, according to the back cover, has been scorching night tables across continents) is another beast altogether.
It verges on porn and often, when I was reading this on the subway, I'd hold the book as close to my eyes as possible so that prying eyes couldn't read lines like this description of a young woman: “The redhead was quite thin. A fact which accentuated the enormous boobs that sprang forth from her body like two particularly lethal weapons” or Al King's line: “Were going to eat spaghetti, with clams and meatballs. Then we're going to come back to the hotel and I'm going to let you breathe garlic sauce all over my c**k”.
It's real smut–and I loved all of its nearly six hundred pages.
The two main narrative follows Al King “soul rock superstar” who, at 38, is in the midst of a second wave of super-stardom (the usual foul, crass rock partying lifestyle applies, venereal diseases be damned), and former prostitute Dallas as she sleeps her way from Beauty Contest winner to Hollywood hot ticket. These two rotten people are destined to be together and the novel gradually focuses on their romance in the most surreal setting possible…
***If you plan on reading this book (and almost everyone I've described it to is lining up) don't read any further***
…It's a spoiler, but I've got to to tell you that, strangely, the last chunk of the book becomes a plane crash survival story where a fat man gets eaten by an alligator. Seriously.
It's a bonkers book, the true definition of guilty pleasure.
On another note, Collins has posted a recipe for meatloaf on her site that I plan to make soon.