Image of Stripped


Image of Stripped

“Love” and “lies” are just two of the four-letter words found in St. Claire’s erotic suspense debut (she pens romance as Claire Ashgrove). The relationship is steamy and well handled, but the main stumbling block to enjoying the book’s romantic elements is also integral to the plot: The heroine kidnaps and sells women as sex slaves. It’s hard to have sympathy for a character who engages in a crime as reprehensible as human trafficking, even if her actions are supposedly for “the greater good.”

Natalya Trubachev is a member of the CIA’s undercover group, the Black Opals. She works undercover as the fiancée of Russian mob boss Dmitri Gavrikov, a job that requires her to drug, kidnap and sell strippers from around the world into sexual slavery. Las Vegas police Lieutenant Brandon Moretti, working undercover in a strip club called Fantasia, hires Natalya to work as a Fantasia’s “housemom” — unaware that her next target is one of his strippers, who also happens to be her fraternal twin sister. Natalya vows she’ll blow her cover before kidnapping her sister. And, if the plot twists and turns aren’t enough, there’s a stripper-murdering serial killer to keep everyone on their toes. (HEAT, Jan., 416 pp., $15.00)

Reviewed by: 
Andrew Shaffer