Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: The Sex Club by L.J. Sellers

The Sex Club by L.J. Sellers
Spellbinder Press, 2007
Crime Fiction; E-Book Format


L.J. Sellers is an author I came across via Twitter. I enjoy reading her tweets, and we've had the opportunity to interact once or twice. I bought an e-book copy of the first book in her Detective Wade Jackson series several months back after having read a couple of good reviews of it.

The product description at Amazon sums up The Sex Club quite succinctly:

A dead girl, a ticking bomb, a Bible study that's not what it appears to be, and a detective who won't give up.

Detective Jackson of Eugene, Oregon is initially assigned to investigate the bombing of a Planned Parenthood Clinic that performs abortions. That same day, however, he is reassigned to the murder of a young adolescent girl who he soon discovers was once his daughter's friend. Evidence suggests the girl had been sexually active, likely right up to the time of her death. As the investigation unfolds, Detective Jackson uncovers more than he bargained for. Meanwhile, he is pulled back into the bombing investigation when a nurse at the clinic who had treated the murdered girl before her death is targeted by the anti-abortion terrorist.

I found The Sex Club entertaining and suspenseful, just as a crime fiction novel should be. Detective Jackson is a likeable and sympathetic character. He is raising his 13 year old daughter on his own along with juggling his job as a detective with law enforcement. He hits it off with the nurse from Planned Parenthood, Kera, whose own marriage is dissolving. Both are lonely and drawn together by circumstance.

I really like Kera. She is a caring individual who finds herself in a precarious position. She has information that might help the police with their murder investigation, but due to confidentiality, she is unable to share it. Like her, I found myself looking for a loophole to make it possible. As a layperson, it's easy to say, "Just tell them! It's for the better good!" Unfortunately, it's more complicated than that. Confidentiality laws exist for a reason and breaking the laws could result in anything from a fine, loss of a job to imprisonment, not to mention the ethical implications.

In an interview I read with the author recently, she commented on getting some flack for writing about such young adolescents (13-14 year olds) having sex (for the record, the novel is not at all graphic in that regard). The reality is that they do. Like the author, I think it's important to acknowledge that fact for a variety of reasons, most important of which is to educate our children. And while parental control and influence can only go so far, there is also peer pressure to contend with.

I did have one issue with the book, which is fairly insignificant to the story itself, but it really got under my skin. In a couple of instances in the book, it is implied that evidence of an orgasm means sexual intercourse is consensual. Regardless of whether the murdered girl was a victim of assault or if the sex was consensual, it bothers me that the authorities, medical and law enforcement, would jump to that conclusion so easily. It is in fact possible for a victim of rape to have an orgasm. Male or female. It's a physiological response. And it often leads to further guilt in victims who experience it. As I read the novel, I hoped that this misunderstanding would be resolved but it never came up again. This particular issue stands out for me because of my work, and so maybe I am just overly sensitive to it. However, I would hate for anyone to walk away from reading this book with the wrong impression. In my mind, such thinking can be extremely detrimental.

Did this hurt my enjoyment of the book? At first. After ranting and raving about it to a couple of my friends and husband, I got it out of my system for the most part--enough to continue with the book. It wasn't hard to do as I really was invested in the characters and their plights. Would I recommend this book to others? Yes, I would. I would even like to get to know Detective Jackson a little more and perhaps Kera if she happens to continue on through the rest of the series.

You can learn more about L.J. Sellers and her books on the author's website and blog.

Source: I purchased this book on my nook.


© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

11 comments:

  1. NOOOOO! I have a 13 year old, and I don't want to think about her having sex! Right now, she is staying away from the boys and focusing on her studies, but who knows when that will change. The premise seems like it would be keep you on the edge of your seat, but it is too bad the book got that one important fact about rape incorrect.

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  2. Oh my, it does sound like this book dealt with some very complex and controversial subjects, but it also sounds interesting as well. The orgasm thing really niggles though, so I can see why it made you a little upset. I can also agree with Sandy. My daughter is 15, and I think I need her to wait a little bit before she has sex!

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  3. The title of this book piqued my interest immediately! It sounds like a good crime story.

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  4. This seems like a good one for book club discussion. I can imagine some of this stuff would lead to some interesting conversations! I'm intrigued by the setting too. My parents lived in Eugene, Oregon for awhile.

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  5. It does seem that many adults want to keep their heads in the sand when it comes to teen sexuality. This book sounds like a page turner.

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  6. This sounds like a really interesting read! Thanks for sharing about it.

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  7. Sandy - My friend's son is 13 and I can't imagine him having sex. Luckily his interest in girls is still relatively innocent. I imagine your daughter is in good hands with you as her mother. While you can't protect her from everything, I think your involvement and guidance in her life will impact her choices in a positive way.

    Heather - Like Sandy, I don't even want to think about my little girl having sex--of course, I have a ways to go before she's 13--or like your daughter, 15. It'll come all too fast, I'm afraid! Hopefully she (and all our daughters) will hold off until they are much older. Much much older. LOL

    I doubt most people will be bothered by the whole orgasm/rape issue I had with the book, but it was hard for me to get past it.


    Lola - I thought so! I look forward to reading more of the series. :-)

    Kathleen - Crime fiction novels don't always lend themselves to good book club picks, but I think you are right about this one. There's a lot in it that would be worthy of discussing!

    Kathy - I don't think any of us want to think of young people in that light--but it's a reality we shouldn't ignore.

    Samantha - It was interesting! :-)

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  8. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing my work! I've heard from hundreds of readers, but you are the first person to mention the orgasm/rape issue. I wrote the scenes to reflect a realistic response from law enforcement. I'm sorry I didn't take the time to correct it. There was so much going on in the story. :)

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  9. L.J. Sellers - Thank you for stopping by and commenting! There definitely was a lot going on in your book and you handled it all so well. I imagine someone who doesn't regularly work with sex crimes might not be up to date on the whole orgasm/rape issue (heck, many in the general public probably don't realize it!)--so I can appreciate the realism.

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  10. Wow - sounds like a very interesting novel. Not sure what I expected from the title....haha
    I'm def. interested after reading your review though.

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  11. I wasn't even thinking about sex in my teens but focusing a lot on studies and my family situation. Probably being in an all-girls school helped me stay away from the thoughts of going out with any boys. Haha! This book does sound interesting and I wouldn't hesitate to read it.

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