cover image Maestra


L.S. Hilton, read by Emilia Fox. Penguin Audio, , unabridged, 9 CDs, 10.5 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-451-48308-9

Hilton’s debut novel introduces femme fatale Judith Rasleigh, who seduces and slays her way up from a petty existence—as gofer at a respected London art auction house by day, while serving as a hostess in a seedy club by night—to a life of hedonist excess among billionaire yacht owners lolling on the Riviera. As written, Judith narrates her own sociopathic, narcissistic rise, complete with a few murders and sexual encounters as lavishly detailed as the book’s fashion notes, with a relentlessly sardonic tone. Reader Fox adds a snarky, ruthlessly dismissive edge, using a razor-sharp British accent. She’s excellent at pinning down Judith’s smarmy auction house boss; her fragile, silly, Cockney girlfriend; a growly nightclub patron who introduces her to Cote d’Azur high life; an affectless American gazillionaire who finances her biggest step up; and an assortment of international high rollers, mistresses, and ne’er-do-wells who keep casino wheels and novels like this (book one of an announced trilogy) rolling. A Putnam hardcover. (Apr.)