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The Venus Fix

Review

The Venus Fix



I have yet to find an author who integrates erotica and suspense as
well as M. J. Rose. Her Butterfield Institute series is
built on what I would call an ingenious premise. Dr. Morgan Snow, a
sex therapist with the Institute, frequently encounters clients who
find themselves embroiled in significant trouble as a result of
their sexual problems. Such elements permit Rose to explore
storylines that are unique yet believable. It is a given that sex
specifically and passion in general have the capacity to get one
into trouble. Rose proceeds from that premise and takes it to its
logical conclusion, making each of her novels in that vein a
riveting cautionary tale.

THE VENUS FIX, the third of Rose's Butterfield Institute
books, initially finds Snow treating a patient who is unknown to
her --- he identifies himself only as "Bob" --- but is obviously
someone possessed of power and importance. "Bob" frequently visits
live Internet webcam sex sites, and this obsession is worming its
way into the cracks of his relationship with his wife and
destroying its foundation. At the same time Snow is working with a
group of male and female high school students who are similarly
obsessed with real-time websites. The males watch because...well,
that's what males do. The females visit them because they literally
are looking for tips to attract the males, and thus are seeking to
emulate the behavior of the women on these websites.

This is shocking, but Noah Jordain, a detective with the
New York City Police Department's Special Victims Unit (and Snow's
intermittent gentleman caller), is drawn into the world of Internet
sex when a woman running one of these live sex websites dies online
before a number of horrified viewers. It is quickly determined that
her death, rather than being happenstance or by accident, is
murder. When another incident occurs, it becomes clear that someone
is targeting a specific group of women.

Jordain's investigation leads him to "Bob" and a revelation
concerning his identity. Snow is convinced that "Bob" is incapable
of committing murder, which is challenged by "Bob's" confession.
But the investigation is by no means over and causes difficulties
for Snow, who must preserve client confidentiality. This becomes
even more difficult when Snow comes to realize that there is a link
--- which may or may not be coincidental --- between the murders
and the student group she is counseling.

THE VENUS FIX continues Rose's practice of interweaving complex
philosophical, ethical and moral issues into a suspenseful plotline
that entertains --- and yes, arouses --- while providing
intellectual grist for thoughtful consideration long after the
reader has completed the novel. Rose creates a rather ingenious
modus operandi for the killer --- one that undoubtedly will raise
the word of mouth profile for this book --- and her choice for the
ultimate villain of the piece is at once sympathetic, diabolical
and controversial.

However, she also raises some fascinating issues relating to
sexuality in general and adolescent promiscuity in particular. An
unfortunate byproduct of the so-called sexual revolution, combined
with the instant gratification element of the Internet, is that it
has resulted in an incredible amount of pressure being placed upon
young women to conform to a sexual ideal that they cannot, and
should not, aspire to.  Adults have a different problem. How
many relationships are affected by the obsession of one or both
partners with the portrayal of an ideal that neither can equal in
the real world? Rose provides an evenhanded and levelheaded view of
the problem, even as it becomes clear that there are no easy
solutions.

Rose combines exotic situations with mystery and suspense to
provide readers with a novel that will raise the temperature ---
among other things --- at the beach this summer.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 24, 2011

The Venus Fix
by M. J. Rose

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense
  • Mass Market Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Mira
  • ISBN-10: 077832317X
  • ISBN-13: 9780778323174