Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Review: Service Wash by Rupert Smith

Rupert Smith
Service Wash

Published by Serpent’s Tail

Reviewed by Paul Thomas

A gay writer is hired to flesh out a soap diva’s autobiography and ends up immersed in her murky world.

Like a gay Danielle Steel with a degree in satire, Rupert Smith has penned Service Wash to take the reader on a darkly comic journey in the world of soap and celebrity. Packed with laugh out loud twists and turns, the plot is citrus fresh. Eileen Weathers is a soap star who has strung together a barely literate autobiography and needs help to realise her dream of telling the truth. Paul Mackrell is a sensitive prose writer who needs to pay the bills. Highbrow and plucked eyebrow are thus set on a collision course in the full glare of the spotlight. Deadlines are missed when dead lovers are found, but who is to blame?

Utilising an insider’s relish no doubt gleaned from his television work, Smith swipes the lather away from the gloss to reveal the tears and treachery of everyday small screen actors and hangers-on battling forsupremacy among the bedrooms, headlines and dressing rooms of a fading soap. With an eye for a tartly comic situation and a knack for crisp plotting that incorporates murder mystery and doomed romance, Service Wash has to be the most perfect companion for the launderette. Cliffhangers reign supreme as lovers and rivals are stepped on and brushed aside in the never ending pursuit of ratings and success. A world that’s big on close-ups but short on talent is laid bare with undisguised glee. An acid drop of a novel, Service Wash also serves as a comment on modern popular entertainment. Service Wash is out now in paperback.

Paul Thomas is a writer and trainer. Until recently he was also a therapist,though he is devoting more of his time to writing at the moment. He hascontributed to various publications, both on and off line and can becontacted via paulcentre@hotmail.com

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