Ambition can be deadly... A sizzling thriller set behind the scenes of a glamorous TV soap, from a Sunday Times bestselling author. Falcon Bay is the UK's favorite TV soap, beamed to millions three days a week from its beautiful location in the Channel Islands. But the show has a new owner, and ratings are falling. The cast and crew used to be 'one big family,' but now they've turned against each other in the battle to impress their new boss and survive the downturn. Writer Farrah, lead actor Catherine, and producer Amanda are the driven, ambitious women who keep the show on the road. But Farrah is losing episodes to her less experienced male rival, Catherine is terrified of the public falling out of love with her, and Amanda's evil husband Jake, vice president of the network, is plotting to get his wife kicked off the show. Can these women team up to bring down their rivals? Only if they are prepared for a battle of the sexes—where they'll need to be as ruthless as the men to come out on top..
In terms of authors who have done their research, you'd be hardpressed to find someone better qualified than Melanie Blake - as an agent in the Music and Entertainment industry, she has managed stars in all of the major TV soaps, and writes weekly columns for The Sunday People and the Mirror Online, in addition to having published her first hugely successful book, Thunder Girls - which was an Amazon No1 Bestseller, and has since been turned into a play.
So, there's no doubt that Melanie Blake knows her stuff, but does that convert into a good read?
In short - yes. I picked this up on a Sunday morning, and I finished it by Sunday lunchtime - with only brief breaks for tea in between, although had I really wished to get myself into the minds of these characters, I may have been better quaffing champagne and snorting coke!
In these miserable times, there is nothing we need more than escapism, and Ruthless Women provides that in spades.
After introducing the readers to her characters, Blake throws in the twists throughout the first half - setting things up for the later half and ensuring that the reader maintains gripped by sharp talking women and steamy sex scenes.
And then the second half arrives, and like a sharp hair pull from Alexis Carrington Colby, tugs the reader into an explosive ride of scandal, twists and secrets.
It's breathtaking, ridiculous, and utterly wonderful. With The Thunder Girls and now Ruthless Women, melanie Blake seems to be the worthy successor to the blockbuster writers of the '80s like Shirley Conran - authors who knew how to write page-turning, crowd pleasing books that may have seemed to the public like trashy reads, but instead were filled with women more powerful and clever than you were likely to read elsewhere - ahead of their time and spreading messages of feminist empowerment and female independence. That is what Blake does so well in Ruthless Women - yes, it is the perfect beach read for when we can all go on holiday again, but, unlike many beach reads, you won't want to leave this one in the hotel room - you'll be stuffing it in your suitcase knowing full well that you'll be picking it up again in the future.
If there was a third Collins sister - who combined the camp soapstar divaness of Joan with the blockbuster writing prowesss of Jackie - it'd be Melanie Blake.
I haven't had as much fun reading a book in a very, very long time.