THE REDHEAD PLAYS HER HAND: Have You Seen a Train Wreck in Slow Motion?

Redhead Plays her Hand by Alice ClaytonTHE REDHEAD PLAYS HER HAND
The Unidentified Redhead #3
by Alice Clayton
Simon & Schuster/Gallery
Trade Paperback 320 pages/Audio Download/E-Book December 2013

E-book provided by publisher for review.  No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


Grace Sheridan is flying high. With scorching passion from her gorgeous Brit superstar Jack Hamilton plus the lead role in a new television dramedy, she could just pinch herself. Then a demand from her show’s directors to drop fifteen pounds brings her back down to earth with a thump. Forced to subsist on air, cucumbers, and boot camp, Grace wonders if the body that brings the newly crowned “Sexiest Man Alive” to his knees is just too booty-licious for Hollywood. Jack, meanwhile, seems overly enamored of the celebrity lifestyle. Forbidden by his publicity-conscious manager to reveal his relationship with Grace, he’s hitting the industry party scene way too hard.

As Grace’s bod incites fiery debate about the message of “thin is in,” Jack’s jealous fans are downing the hate-erade, viciously slamming her curves. Grace longs for Jack’s support, but he’s showing up late and disheveled to her most important moments. With tempers between them flaring, Hollywood’s most talked-about redhead might have more to lose than a few stubborn pounds. She and Jack were clearly made for each other—but will the day ever come when they can walk the red carpet together, hand in hand?Simon & Schuster


Have you ever watched a person you love, not because of addiction, but due to stress and an inability to handle that stress, crash and come off the rails like staring, horrified at a train wreck happening in slow motion.

You can see it happening and yet, there is nothing you can do about it. You can’t catch the train or change its trajectory. You can’t warn them. You may be able to help after, but that’s little comfort when you’re watching it happen.

This story in the series, while still filled with humorous moments is also Grace’s recounting of watching this happen to Jack as his fame causes stress and at the same time gives him permission to be a jerk.

One problem is that the way the industry works he is probably taking other people down with him as he spirals out of control. “UGH!” I thought reading, “I just want to give him a good shake.”

Obviously, to elicit that reaction Clayton is telling the story in a way that I recognize the characters with their idiosyncrasies and assorted baggage.
But the topic is much more serious here than it is in the previous entries in the series. While the lives of stars like Lindsey Lohan, Jessica Simpson, and others play out in the tabloids and even on what passes for legitimate news, they are not living for our entertainment and this book really brings home how money doesn’t alleviate stress or buy happiness.  It must be hard to go to bed a barely known actor and wake up as a super star. From this fictional lives’ story it sounds like it’s more like waking up as bait in a pool full of sharks. And, not to be all happy and well-balanced is apparently a crime.

It brought home to me how much a star’s personal life, who s/he person is sexing up, and how someone’s weight has changed, is none of my business. There’s a certain amount of information it can be fun to get because they do put themselves in the public eye, but I think it is really out of control.

Again, the device Clayton uses in previous books in the series, of Jack’s and Grace’s manager/agent, Holly, not letting them reveal their relationship because of image, works really well as an anchor in the story. I kept thinking that if that the couple could be more open,  Jack’s course would be straighter.

And the entire story had me feeling really bad for Grace. It goes into size-ism and ageism as well. Grace is every woman, maybe a little more gorgeous, but she’s sort of one of us (if we were actresses with really hot, movie star boyfriends).  It’s easy to identify with her.

The point here is that the writer has very effectively told me a story with emotional content that made me feel, and think.
As the last in the series, it probably could stand on its own; Clayton gives good back story, but the experience is richer with the other two read before THE REDHEAD PLAYS HER HAND.

I really enjoyed the entire series, but I have to say the first book was my favorite. That’s where I really fell for the characters and their story. I feel the writer adjusted the cause and effect that I had experienced as a little weak in the Second Book, THE REDHEAD REVEALED. Action and reaction are more rational and justified again here. Some of the sex was hot, but other interludes felt repetitive.
I loved this series and think it is a MUST READ.
Contemorary Romance Reading ChallengeErotic Romance Challenge Other Reviews in the series:






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