For the last twenty years Vivien Slate has run an incredibly successful casting agency in the heart of Hollywood. She's cast some great movies in the past but mostly these days it's independent art films. Although she's reached success in her profession,  has a wonderful son, a great home and a not-so-wonderful husband, Vivien is bored with her life, craving a little excitement. When she discovers her husband cheating- an idea is born. Instead of casting for some unknown director- this time she is going to put all her creative juices to work- casting a new man in her life.

Back of the Book:
Hollywood casting director Vivien Slate thought she had it all, until coming home one day to find her husband cheating on her with a younger woman. With her marriage on the rocks, she decides it's the perfect time to recapture her sexual identity... by finding a younger man of her own. Vivien realizes she has a dating service right inside her own office--she's a casting director, after all. She devises a scenario to make the town believe her newest film project is as real as any other. She populates the cast with male characters spanning the ages of twenty to forty and begins holding auditions for hundreds of Tinseltown's most eligible bachelors. Vivien stops at nothing to find her perfect younger man, even it it means leaving her morals behind and ultimately putting her life in danger.

My Thoughts
They say don't judge a book by it's cover but you know we all do. I have to admit I don't even pull a book off the bookstore shelf unless there is something that grabs my attention- the color, a graphic, an interesting title, the description on the back.

Based on the description, the cover, the graphic of this book, I was expecting a light-hearted romp through the world of movie casting. I was expecting a middle-aged woman emotionally mistreated by her husband, who runs out and finds a younger man to assuage her abused feeling and to hep her rediscover her youth. A cross between How Stella Got Her Groove Back and well seemingly every other chick-lit book on the shelves these days. What I got was something vastly different. Not bad, just not what I was expecting.

Everything as described above really happens. Vivien get screwed over by her husband and by the urging of a friend decides to find a boy-toy and then it gets weird.

For the sake of full disclosure I have to tell you I've never hated a main character more than I did Vivien Slate. Between her violence, her conceit, her violence, her narcissism, her violence, her utter and complete disrespect of everything and everyone- by the end of the novel I was actively praying for her death. I've never been more disappointed to see a happy ending in all my life. I wanted her to suffer. I mean really suffer. Suffer deeply. Chuck Palahniuk style of suffering. Yet she doesn't. For all her bad behavior, she succeeds, time and time again. Well, perhaps that's the true morale of this tale. The meek don't always inherit the earth.

Slate is gritty, perhaps realistic view of the world of casting movies; it's not pretty, sunshine and light-hearted, it's dark, self-serving and more than just a little vulgar. Vivien is the ultimate anti-heroine. She'd be the perfect fit for The Housewives of just about anything.

Brian Rowe is going to be an author to watch. I think with a great editor at his hip, he has the potential to be this generation's Sidney Sheldon. But this style of writing, the oohy, gooey feel good chick-lit- not his style. One thing needs to change-either the marketing to fit the book or the book to fit the marketing.

You can also find Brian at or on Facebook.

Disclaimer: Brian Rowe was kind and provided a copy of the book. But as always I'm my own woman.


Brian Rowe said...

A really interesting, honest take on the book, Zoe! I'm sorry you hated Vivien so much. I tried to give her a softer side, particularly with the scenes where she bumbles through her early run-ins with guys, and with the scenes with her son Gavin. But, yes, I understand she's not your typical likable protagonist, that's for sure! Thanks for the review... this was a new perspective on the book I haven't read before.



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