CONSENSUAL SEX AND BREEZY VIOLENCE
LS. Hilton’s new thriller opens with wildly consensual sex and a murder. There is a breezy,
Dragon Tattoo violence to Domina from the first, and from there on we follow our protagonist from one glam location to another. The owner of an art gallery, Elisabeth (or Judith) once stole a painting, not realising that another painting was packed with it—a drawing supposedly made by Caravaggio, who never made drawings. The owner insists the drawing was not a fake and he wants it back, so Judith must find it.
Like Jason Bourne, Judith roams up and down Europe and out to Serbia carrying nothing but a backpack, a wad of cash and what looks like a super-smart phone. Often distracting from Hilton’s racy plot is her habit of adding designer tags to every description. In addition to being an expert in identifying and valuing paintings, Judith can apparently name any handbag, pair of heels or jacket, even from across the street. This Cosmo lingo can get hilariously intrusive. Case in point: as our felonious protagonist is about to go on the run, she picks up her always-ready bag, ‘packed with a versatile capsule wardrobe, allowing me to curate a variety of different looks’. But despite the inadvertent comedy of the namedropping and the acrobatic sex, the book holds the reader till the very end. The scenes run between the rarefied private galleries of the obscenely rich to the joyously overpopulated squalour of a shock artists’ studio.
You’ll have to wait till page 167 for a look back at Judith’s life, maybe the writer’s way of directing you to the book in which Judith’s adventures began—Maestra. Domina itself ends with a cliffhanger, so clearly a sequel is already rumbling off the presses.