This is the rags to riches story of a self trained masseur who becomes a gigolo obliging an expanding coterie of rich and influential ladies. It starts in 2006 when one chance contact leads to another, and ends with the financial crash and disaster.
At the start, Ben Foster has a going nowhere job in a unit, maybe a special school, for disturbed young adolescent boys. It’s tough but he likes it. He has a nice wife and kids but all very working class and bumping along just above the poverty line.
It takes a big leap of faith for the reader to go from there to this secret world of the super rich where long legged and elegant ladies groom him as a gigolo and pass him round among their clique. He is just vaguely amazed at all this and goes along with it accepting their gifts of cars and flash clothing as well as the payments for his services. It needs a bigger leap of faith to actually find this story credible, despite a lot of detail about his massage techniques (which has a touch of Wikipedia about it all) and the view of the idle super rich which was a bit Jilly Cooper with extras for me! If any of it is true, we need to feel some sympathy for his poor wife who, we are led to believe, likes her lovemaking so simple that she doesn’t notice how one of his lovers has given him an all over shave and who puts up with his fatuous excuses in return for the odd amount of cash. In the end, I decided she was a bit smarter than him, knew exactly what was going on from the start and took the money.
It was a shame, however, that if she did this then she didn’t invest it. As the financial storm clouds gather, Ben loses his dream job and his developing property portfolio and, suddenly, finds himself back on his beam ends. Ultimately, he takes up his old job again which may earn little money but is based on sound values. I think we are meant to see a touch of redemption here.
The story rolls along and is fairly readable taken with a good helping of a willing suspension of disbelief and you will learn something about massage to try out on your partner! You could do worse on a boring journey but it won’t win any prizes although I’m sorry to say I can imagine it as a film … and then Ben Foster will be rich again!
(Gigolo is just published by Thistle Publishing who kindly sent me a review copy via NetGalley.)