Jayden Hunter, Undressed to the Nines, 2016
Jayden Hunter introduces us to Drew Stirling, a supermodel who finds herself in a dangerous situation, in this thriller novel, the first in the Drew Stirling series. After spending the night with Lance Boyd, a family friend (and Congressman), Drew notices he left behind a device with top-secret information from a company that Lance has been working with. Instead of simply handing the flashdrive back upon finding it, Drew instead decides to keep it and views the file with her photographer friend, Marc Chase, which causes the following series of events.
One of the best features of this novel is the character development. Hunter begins every chapter with two quotes: one from a real-life person and one from a character, and then the character who gave the quote usually takes centre stage for the chapter. Having chapters that focus solely on Lance Boyd or Brandon Hull (an associate of Lance’s) allow us to see things from different perspective and allow a more well-painted villain, rather than simply having Drew as the narrator and having her run away from a name we don’t know anything about.
However, Drew’s own characterisation early-on was a bit of an issue. We find out early on that Drew has gone against her family’s wishes with her modelling, then she sleeps with a powerful and married man before rejecting a date with a seemingly nice-guy to instead sleep with the powerful and married man again. She then steals his flashdrive and looks what’s on there without thinking. Early on Drew doesn’t come across as the soon-to-be damsel in distress that we should care about.
Another issue was the pacing. It took nearly halfway through the novel for the action to kick in and then shortly afterwards it seemed to die down again as she escaped Hull’s pursuits. It then quietens down to a pace similar to a beginning before speeding up again as Hull returns. It seemed to go really high with the pacing and dropped back down with a large amount of the book left to go which felt like we were starting over again afterwards.
Those minor issues aside, though, Undressed to the Nines is a very good thriller novel and a good introduction to Drew Stirling’s series (her character became a lot more fleshed out as the story progressed and she became a lot more likeable, if still a bit gullible). Hunter’s writing is very clear and details everything you need to know (although at times it does feel like he’s giving too much information; passages such as ‘When Marc came back he sat and said he thought he should go into town in the morning and contact Cindy’ doesn’t feel like it needs to be narrated, instead it could be within the characters’ dialogue). Certainly an interesting read and one which I will be keen on reading its sequel.
Final Verdict: Few minor issues but otherwise a fun and exciting novel with a good bunch of characters; who each get to speak and express their opinion of the situations.
*Buy it on Amazon here*
Other Works by Jayden hunter:
Drew Stirling series:
- Undressed at Sea
Nagant Wars: The Pawn’s Dilemma