by L S Hilton
Sex, Glamour, Murder, meet Elizabeth/Judith, the iconic protagonist of L S Hilton's trilogy, and a character you'll love to hate as she leaves a trail of destruction in her wake.
Ultima is the final book in Hilton's shocking and unpredictable series, and probably the best, but it's well worth reading the first two, Maestra and Domina before this one.
Masquerading as an international art-dealer by the name of Elizabeth Teerlinc, Judith's name is not the only fake thing she trades on. She is forced to create a fake masterpiece and take it back to the old art house in London where she used to work, back to Rupert and his cruel ways. But our master of disguise is not the woman she was back then. Reminiscent of a scene from Pretty Woman, Judith returns in style.
Caught in a web with a Russian Mafia boss and corrupt policeman, Judith must use her contacts to ensure the fake art has all the technical skill and provenance expected of an original. Failure to convince is not an option.
Judith's life is a shrouded in lies, and these are gradually revealed as the stories progress. There are times when you might feel sorry for her, and show understanding, but at any moment a revelation might have her back on the naughty step. Selfish and ruthless, she won't let anyone get in her way. She consumes men, uses and disposes of them. The sex scenes are explicit. If you don't believe me, read the prologue, it's typically filthy. Having said that, Ultima is the least graphic of the three books, and doesn't suffer from being so.
It's pure escapism: the high life of couture clothing, fine art, luxury travel and hot climates. All this is achieved without the finances you'd normally expect. Judith gets what she wants her way and, as unlikable as she is, her actions are simply compelling.
About L S Hilton:
Lisa Hilton grew up in the north of England and read English at New College, Oxford, after which she studied History of Art in Florence and Paris.
Lisa has lived in New York, Paris and Milan, and now in London. She is the author of five historical biographies and three novels, and as L.S. Hilton, psychological thrillers Maestra and Domina. She is also the librettist of opera Love Hurts, and works as a regular feature writer and reviewer, journalist, lecturer, broadcaster.
If you can't beat them - kill them
First there was Maestra. Then there was Domina. Now - there is Ultima.
Glamorous international art-dealer Elizabeth Teerlinc knows a thing or two about fakes. After all, she is one herself.
Her real identity, Judith Rashleigh, is buried under a layer of lies. Not to mention the corpses of the men foolish enough to get in her way.
But now, caught in the murderous crossfire between a Russian Mafia boss and a corrupt Italian police detective, Judith is forced to create an even more daring work of art - a fake masterpiece she must take to the world-famous auction house where she used to be a lowly assistant and sell for $150 million.
For Judith the prospect of putting one over her loathsome former employer and the world's art establishment is almost as thrilling as the extreme sex she's addicted to - especially when the price of failure is a bullet in the back of the head.
But exposing her new identity to the glare of the spotlight puts her at risk of an even greater danger. Like a beautiful painting stripped of its layers of varnish, something altogether different could be revealed.
A truth about her past even Judith might find shocking.