Melanie Abrams
Julius Addlesee
Shelley Aikens
A. Aimee
Jeanne Ainslie
Fredrica Alleyn
Rebecca Ambrose
Diane Anderson-Minshall
Laura Antoniou
Janine Ashbless
Lisette Ashton
Gavin Atlas
Danielle Austen
J. P. Beausejour
P.K. Belden
Tina Bell
Jove Belle
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ronica Black
Candace Blevins
Primula Bond
Lionel Bramble
A. J. Bray
Samantha Brook
Matt Brooks
Zetta Brown
James Buchanan
Louisa Burton
Angela Campion
Angela Caperton
Annabeth Carew
Julia Chambers
Dale Chase
M. Christian
Greta Christina
Valentina Cilescu
Rae Clark
NJ Cole
Christina Crooks
Julius Culdrose
Portia da Costa
Alan Daniels
Angraecus Daniels
Dena De Paulo
Vincent Diamond
Susan DiPlacido
Noelle Douglas-Brown
Hypnotic Dreams
Amanda Earl
Hank Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Stephen Elliott
Madelynne Ellis
Justine Elyot
Aurelia T. Evans
Lucy Felthouse
Jesse Fox
I. G. Frederick
Simone Freier
Louis Friend
Polly Frost
William Gaius
Bob Genz
Shanna Germain
J. J. Giles
Lesley Gowan
K D Grace
K. D. Grace
Sacchi Green
Ernest Greene
Tamzin Hall
R. E. Hargrave
P. S. Haven
Trebor Healey
Vicki Hendricks
Scott Alexander Hess
Richard Higgins
Julie Hilden
E. M. Hillwood
Amber Hipple
William Holden
Senta Holland
David Holly
Michelle Houston
Debra Hyde
M. E. Hydra
Vina Jackson
Anneke Jacob
Maxim Jakubowski
Kay Jaybee
Ronan Jefferson
Amanda Jilling
SM Johnson
Raven Kaldera
J. P. Kansas
Kevin Killian
D. L. King
Catt Kingsgrave
Kate Kinsey
Geoffrey Knight
Varian Krylov
Vivienne LaFay
Teresa Lamai
Lisa Lane
Randall Lang
James Lear
Amber Lee
Nikko Lee
Tanith Lee
Annabeth Leong
James W. Lewis
Marilyn Jaye Lewis
Ashley Lister
Fiona Locke
Clare London
Scottie Lowe
Simon Lowrie
Catherine Lundoff
Michael T. Luongo
Jay Lygon
Helen E. H. Madden
Nancy Madore
Jodi Malpas
Jeff Mann
Alma Marceau
Sommer Marsden
Gwen Masters
Sean Meriwether
Bridget Midway
I. J. Miller
Madeline Moore
Lucy V. Morgan
Julia Morizawa
David C. Morrow
Walter Mosley
Peggy Munson
Zoe Myonas
Alicia Night Orchid
Craig Odanovich
Cassandra Park
Michael Perkins
Christopher Pierce
Lance Porter
Jack L. Pyke
Devyn Quinn
Cameron Quitain
R. V. Raiment
Shakir Rashaan
Jean Roberta
Paige Roberts
Sam Rosenthal
D. V. Sadero
C Sanchez-Garcia
Lisabet Sarai
R Paul Sardanas
R. Paul Sardanas
Elizabeth Schechter
Erica Scott
Kemble Scott
Mele Shaw
Simon Sheppard
Tom Simple
Talia Skye
Susan St. Aubin
Charlotte Stein
C. Stetson
Chancery Stone
Donna George Storey
Darcy Sweet
Rebecca Symmons
Mitzi Szereto
Cecilia Tan
Lily Temperley
Vinnie Tesla
Claire Thompson
Alexis Trevelyan
Alison Tyler
Gloria Vanderbilt
Vanessa Vaughn
Elissa Wald
Saskia Walker
Kimberly Warner-Cohen
Brian Whitney
Carrie Williams
Peter Wolkoff
T. Martin Woody
Beth Wylde
Daddy X
Lux Zakari
Fiona Zedde
The Black Widow TrainerThe Black Widow Trainer
By: Craig Odanovich
Emerald Book Company
ISBN: 1934572594
January 2011

Reviewed By: Ashley Lister

The Black Widow Trainer is an erotic novel about Misty. Misty is married to Rob but she doesn’t let that stop her. Rob’s job forces them to move to Captain Cook, Hawaii and, when Misty grows bored with the loneliness and lack of challenges, they separate. Sort of. She returns to her job as a fitness trainer and then decides to fill the emptiness of her life without Rob with sex.

Think of Xavier Hollander’s The Happy Hooker in a gym.

I’ve read many reviews online by readers who think this title is superb. And, although I’m usually shallow enough to want to go with the flow, I have to admit The Black Widow Trainer didn’t work for me.

The story seemed sufficiently exciting and coherently constructed. The erotic scenes were arousing, no more contrived than many other erotic scenarios being published today. In fact, in my opinion, the erotic scenes included the more smoothly written areas in the book.

But I found it difficult to engage with the characters. Perhaps part of this was because I thought the dialogue was unconvincing.

The bartender looked up from the glass he was drying and greeted Misty. “G’day, love. You look like you could use a coldie.”

His thick Australian accent made her smile. “No, I’m not a beer drinker. I’ll have your seven-year Flor De Cana, straight. So you’re from Oz, are you?”

He looked back and said wryly, “What tipped you off?”

“Well, you can take the Aussie out of the bush, but you can’t take the bush out of the Aussie,” Misty said flatly.

“Say, you’re a live wire, aren’t you, doll? My name is Sammy.”

Misty introduced herself and told him she was training a client at the club. She asked, “Say, were you ever a bartender in Sydney? You look familiar.”

“What were you doing in Sydney, sheila?”

“Went to visit last year on business. I stayed for several months. I really liked it there.”

“Sure, I’ve worked at most of the top bars in Sydney over the last few years, but I decided to come to the States. I’ve already sampled most of the beautiful women in Sydney. Wanted to broaden my horizon, if you catch me.” He winked again.

In discussions with other creative writing lecturers, I’ve heard many colleagues say that convincing dialogue is one of the trickiest areas for an author to capture. This is understandable. As I often point out to my students, anyone who can speak and read is already dealing in two separate languages.

We should all remember that fiction is an artifice of necromancy: an attempt to represent live reality on dead pages. The meta-relationship between fiction and reality is best exemplified in the written representation of dialogue. The author is trying to convey the sounds and rhythms of the spoken word through printed characters contained with speech marks.

It’s a difficult trick for most writers.

But understanding that it’s difficult doesn’t make it easier to read when it’s not done to a reader’s taste.

I’m happy to concede that this could just be a personal thing. As I said before, there are many positive reviews of this title and I haven’t seen any reader complaining about the stilted dialogue. Perhaps it’s because I’m based in the UK and the author is a US writer and writing for a US market.

“Yes, Gabriella, you have good taste in clothes,” Misty said, failing to strip all the annoyance out of her tone. “Do you enjoy picking out clothes for other people?”

Misty’s curtness was no lost on Gabriella, and Misty could tell she was a little hurt.

“Misty I was an only child and my mother always showered me with gifts. As you know, I am not married, and I don’t have children to dote on. I know it’s a silly need of mine. If it bothers you, I will try to resist the urge to buy you clothes.”

“I’m so sorry.” Misty was suddenly disappointed with her insensitivity. “I misspoke. I think it was a very thoughtful gesture, and I truly love wearing new clothes. Please don’t think I’m anything but grateful.”

When she saw Gabriella’s face brighten, she breathed a sigh of relief and added, “I am so looking forward to our day together. I can’t wait to experience San Telmo. You are such a gracious host.”

The Black Widow Trainer failed to rock my world but I’m just one reader. And, as the authors of previous unflattering reviews have pointed out, my opinion doesn’t matter a damn because I know nothing.

As Abraham Lincoln once said – people who like this sort of thing will like this sort of thing. And if you like this sort of thing – I guarantee you will love The Black Widow Trainer.