The Black Widow Trainer is an erotic novel about Misty. Misty is married to Rob but she doesn’t let that stop her. Rob’s job forces them to move to Captain Cook, Hawaii and, when Misty grows bored with the loneliness and lack of challenges, they separate. Sort of. She returns to her job as a fitness trainer and then decides to fill the emptiness of her life without Rob with sex.
Think of Xavier Hollander’s The Happy Hooker in a gym.
I’ve read many reviews online by readers who think this title is superb. And, although I’m usually shallow enough to want to go with the flow, I have to admit The Black Widow Trainer didn’t work for me.
The story seemed sufficiently exciting and coherently constructed. The erotic scenes were arousing, no more contrived than many other erotic scenarios being published today. In fact, in my opinion, the erotic scenes included the more smoothly written areas in the book.
But I found it difficult to engage with the characters. Perhaps part of this was because I thought the dialogue was unconvincing.
The bartender looked up from the glass he was drying and greeted Misty. “G’day, love. You look like you could use a coldie.”
His thick Australian accent made her smile. “No, I’m not a beer drinker. I’ll have your seven-year Flor De Cana, straight. So you’re from Oz, are you?”
He looked back and said wryly, “What tipped you off?”
“Well, you can take the Aussie out of the bush, but you can’t take the bush out of the Aussie,” Misty said flatly.
“Say, you’re a live wire, aren’t you, doll? My name is Sammy.”
Misty introduced herself and told him she was training a client at the club. She asked, “Say, were you ever a bartender in Sydney? You look familiar.”
“What were you doing in Sydney, sheila?”
“Went to visit last year on business. I stayed for several months. I really liked it there.”
“Sure, I’ve worked at most of the top bars in Sydney over the last few years, but I decided to come to the States. I’ve already sampled most of the beautiful women in Sydney. Wanted to broaden my horizon, if you catch me.” He winked again.
In discussions with other creative writing lecturers, I’ve heard many colleagues say that convincing dialogue is one of the trickiest areas for an author to capture. This is understandable. As I often point out to my students, anyone who can speak and read is already dealing in two separate languages.
We should all remember that fiction is an artifice of necromancy: an attempt to represent live reality on dead pages. The meta-relationship between fiction and reality is best exemplified in the written representation of dialogue. The author is trying to convey the sounds and rhythms of the spoken word through printed characters contained with speech marks.
It’s a difficult trick for most writers.
But understanding that it’s difficult doesn’t make it easier to read when it’s not done to a reader’s taste.
I’m happy to concede that this could just be a personal thing. As I said before, there are many positive reviews of this title and I haven’t seen any reader complaining about the stilted dialogue. Perhaps it’s because I’m based in the UK and the author is a US writer and writing for a US market.
“Yes, Gabriella, you have good taste in clothes,” Misty said, failing to strip all the annoyance out of her tone. “Do you enjoy picking out clothes for other people?”
Misty’s curtness was no lost on Gabriella, and Misty could tell she was a little hurt.
“Misty I was an only child and my mother always showered me with gifts. As you know, I am not married, and I don’t have children to dote on. I know it’s a silly need of mine. If it bothers you, I will try to resist the urge to buy you clothes.”
“I’m so sorry.” Misty was suddenly disappointed with her insensitivity. “I misspoke. I think it was a very thoughtful gesture, and I truly love wearing new clothes. Please don’t think I’m anything but grateful.”
When she saw Gabriella’s face brighten, she breathed a sigh of relief and added, “I am so looking forward to our day together. I can’t wait to experience San Telmo. You are such a gracious host.”
The Black Widow Trainer failed to rock my world but I’m just one reader. And, as the authors of previous unflattering reviews have pointed out, my opinion doesn’t matter a damn because I know nothing.
As Abraham Lincoln once said – people who like this sort of thing will like this sort of thing. And if you like this sort of thing – I guarantee you will love The Black Widow Trainer.