A fascinating story - inspired by real-life events - about vulnerability, courage and the art of making a living in the sex trade...
Coming of Age, Adult Suspense Thriller
“A gripping and mature story deftly woven by Lola Smirnova, "Twisted" is the kind of suspense novel that will linger in the mind and imagination long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf. "Twisted" introduces an extraordinarily gifted author to an appreciative readership looking eagerly toward her next literary effort.”
- Midwest Book Review
Back in the 90’s, the corrupt post-Soviet Ukraine with its faltering economy, is thrown into a devastating depression. Times are hard. Opportunities are scarce.
Three eager young sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia - dream of a better life and weigh their options: do they stay and struggle like their parents, or join scores of their compatriots in the sex trade in glittering western European cities, who earn in a night what they’d take several months to earn at home? Naive and tempted by the allure of 'quick' money, the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever...
For sensible, resilient and calculating Lena and Natalia, the transition to the underworld of Luxembourg’s deceptive champagne bars is eye-opening, but smooth. But for fragile, brittle Julia, haunted by a childhood assault, the change is more than just vocational. Struggling to adapt, she turns to alcohol and drugs, exposing herself to increasing danger and depravity; and, ultimately, betrayal, when a deceitful client, who claims to love her, drugs her and cleans her out.
Despite her sisters’ best efforts to intervene, she finds herself in Istanbul – culturally a world apart – in an attempt to make back the money and self-respect she’s lost. Vulnerable without the protection of Luxembourg’s champagne bars, she descends into a hell of drugs and high-risk sex until, at the novel’s terrible climax, a kidnapping, brutal assault and one-sided justice system lead to her imprisonment and a threat of deportation.
How will Natalia and Lena save Julia?
'TWISTED' IS THE FIRST BOOK OF A TRILOGY. THE SECOND ONE - 'CRAVED' IS COMING OUT VERY SOON! To stay updated follow Lola on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/twistedlolasmirnova or Twitter - @BookTwisted.
“Charged with some disturbing sexual scenes (including rape), the book manages a steady, readable flow as it shines a light on the multifaceted world of the European sex trade.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“Smirnova takes us on a philosophical and pseudo-psychological pilgrimage through the sexual underworld as Julia, in first person narrative, describes her struggling introduction into a profession where she can ply the only skills currently marketable.”
- 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite
“I highly recommend ‘Twisted’ to open-minded readers who aren’t afraid of a little blood, sweat and semen. It’s sure to shock and surprise you, with both its storyline and its literary value.”
- 5 star review from Red City Review
“In the meantime, Smirnova hopes that Twisted will raise awareness to the problems of the sex industry… Kudos to Smirnova for an outstanding job achieving that goal!”
- 5 star review from Pacific Book Review
“While the subject matter does not make for a light read, a breezy writing style and Julia’s willingness to fully and shamelessly lift the veil on her controversial lifestyle makes an irresistible combination.”
“It is up front and direct; Smirnova thankfully avoids the guileless euphemism that writers with less comfort about sex and sex work use in their sex scenes. It also explores the business with a sensitivity and respect – though not approval – that is rare. The story is paced steadily, never lingers in melodrama, and can easily be read in one sitting.”
- Foreword Clarion Reviews