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What Goes Around

What Goes Around

by Susan Diamond

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When the body of bored housewife and high-priced call girl Ginger Pass is found outside the most exclusive men's club in California, the other members of her self-help group—Polly, Kat, Charlotte, Dinah, and Justine—are convinced it was foul play. Determined to find a way to prove it, they track down the trio of rich, powerful men they know are


When the body of bored housewife and high-priced call girl Ginger Pass is found outside the most exclusive men's club in California, the other members of her self-help group—Polly, Kat, Charlotte, Dinah, and Justine—are convinced it was foul play. Determined to find a way to prove it, they track down the trio of rich, powerful men they know are responsible for their friend's death. Hidden behind walls of money, connections, and respectability, these men seem to be untouchable. But like Robin Hood's merry men, King Arthur's knights, and the Girl Scouts rolled into one, the adventurous and brave quintet of women will risk everything to bring these men down.

They know what will happen if they fail. But Polly, Kat, Charlotte, Dinah, and Justine don't count on the ways their lives will change when they succeed. What goes around comes around . . . and Ginger's friends may finally get the lives they most want.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Diamond's sparkling debut, five determined L.A. women-Polly, Kat, Dinah, Justine and Charlotte-set out to avenge the murder of their friend, Ginger, a society matron turned high-class call girl, whose body is found outside the Palatine Club's men's only country compound after a paid assignation turns deadly. Getting justice for Ginger means focusing on those responsible for the crime and coverup: L. Walker "Loose" Cannon, a state senator high on "family values"; Mitchell Reinhart, a high-profile lawyer known as "Mr. Divorce"; and Milo Till, a brilliant real estate developer and financial whiz. The avengers don't wear capes or use supernatural powers to deliver justice, relying instead on individual expertise in such fields as art, investing, law and medicine as well as good old chick chutzpah. Careful research, clever plotting and credible characters enhance this intelligent vengeance quest. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Diamond, a former writer for the Los Angeles Times, pens a satisfying novel of revenge and female empowerment amid the movers and shakers of Los Angeles. Beautiful Ginger Pass kept a mighty secret-when her husband was away on business, she became a high-priced prostitute. Those few in the know are the five women in her therapy group, successful women dissatisfied with their lives. When Ginger is found dead in a men's club, and the police casually rule it an accident, the women from her group decide to investigate. What they discover is foul play. In short order, they learn that Ginger spent her last night with L. Walker Cannon, Senate candidate; Mitchell Reinhart, a divorce lawyer who crushes wives in court; and Milo Till, a big-shot land-developer. Till acknowledges a meeting but tells the police that she left his company very much alive (the story's weak spot-one would think the death of a millionaire's wife would effect a bit more police investigation). The women from the group decide to mete out justice in their own special way, each of them bringing her own useful skill set, cleverly shaping their plot for revenge. Charlotte is a lawyer, Kat is the comely owner of a chain of upscale gyms, Dinah is a doctor, Justine works for the county's assessor's office and Polly's made a fortune off the stock market. First, they set their sights on Cannon, a GOP puppet running on a family-values platform-thanks to Kat, a lacey bra and a well-timed photo op, his career is easily undone. Then, because of Justine's expertise in agriculture (her family's business), Reinhart is next for ruin, leaving Milo Till, the dangerous one, who happens to take a shine to Dinah. The plotting, usually engaging inbuilding its complicated schemes, is sometimes slowed by the explanation of, say, tax codes. But the payoff-justice for Ginger and meaningful life changes for her avengers-is worth the wait. Strong, genuine characters make this more than a simple tale of murder and the clever machinations of revenge. Agent: Molly Friedrich/Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency

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Read an Excerpt

What Goes Around

Chapter One

For seventy-four years the Palatine Club had held a weeklong August retreat at Poderoso Pines. It was the longest-running tradition in the oldest men's club in California. They had missed 1942, what with the pressure on businesses to produce war matériel, but not a single season during the Depression years.

Now there was a dead woman on the bridle path beyond the east grove, and the retreat, only half over, was in danger of being ruined.

She was fully clothed, if not according to the dress code for women guests at the club's town house in the city. This was the country, after all, and she was not an invited guest. No women were allowed at Poderoso Lodge. Fortunately she was outside the fence.

For much of the night, she had lain belly-up on the dark forest path, like a fish floating in a bed of kelp. Now and then the moon broke through the clouds, but the pines were tall, the Douglas firs thick in this part of the woods, and what little light reached the forest floor only dappled the path like moonlight on moving water.

She was slight, her limbs splayed out at what could have been painful angles. There was no visible line between skin and clothing, her fair hair and skin very pale and the folds of her dress rippled out around her. A high-heeled sandal was tethered to one foot by its ankle strap. Several times she seemed to sigh, unless it was a breeze moving through the cooled forest. The edges of her dress lifted and settled, and leaves shifted around her body on its soft pallet. Sometimes her hands stirred, made little sculling motions by her side and then were still; sometimes herfeet twitched.

Through the night no one saw her. Even if someone had caught a movement or a shape, it would have been thought an illusion, a trick of the eye and the hour. Many of the ¬people there were already quite drunk. Besides, the area was secure, the atmosphere protected, and a body, dead or dying, was unfitting.

Over the years the Palatine Club had made its mountain acreage a place of ease and beauty, replacing the original rough outbuildings with grand resort architecture, then continually beefing up the furnishings with more mahogany and leather. It looked rich and private, the kind of enclave to which the entitled return every year, every generation.

It was carefully kept that way. The club rented it out a dozen times a year for select gatherings up to a week long—corporate retreats for upper management, business-school seminars for young presidents, a governors' conference. A writers' workshop, a jazz festival, even a museum curators' colloquium were rejected as mere amusements. For three weeks in midsummer, the place was opened to the families of members. Then the badminton and croquet and horseshoe sets were brought out, the swings set up, the stables contracted out to a wrangler company, and the canoes and rowboats mended and painted and piled on the docks and boathouse shelves.

Year after year the same families returned to the same cottages for their assigned week—the same every year, with the same assigned tables in the lodge dining room. For those weeks only, the patios and driveways at each cottage were strewn with tricycles and strollers, towels and swimsuits drying in the sun. The Adirondack chairs were brought down from the terrace of the lodge and scattered by twos and threes around the lawn that sloped to the lake, and there the mothers sat and watched the children playing in the shallows along the beach. Briefly the club grounds were lively with shouts and laughter, the rhythmic bounce of balls on clay, the smack of birdies against racquets, splashing water. Like many such places, it seemed inviolate, untouched by time or wear, the summer nights and long afternoons engraved in the memories of the children and their children's children, who never dreamed of going elsewhere.

When the men came to the August retreat, it was like conference time again, with the lingering flavor of summer camp. The horses were gone, and the strollers and swings, but the nets stayed up and racquets were available. Floats still bobbed on the lake, and corrals on either side of the wood pier were filled with small boats.

The night the woman lay on the path beyond the fence was calm but hardly quiet. Down the path, over the chain link fence and across the field, there was the sound of drums and the glow of torches at the lakefront. All the cottages and cabins were silent, each recessed in its woodsy grove like the cottage of the seven dwarfs. Above the lawn the main lodge was dark, its porch deserted, the sconce lights dimmed. Everyone was at the lake for the evening ceremonies. Men in white shirts lined the banks and sat on the grassy slope. Others manned the flotilla of dinghies, canoes, and rowboats that rocked gently out on the water. Perhaps a dozen in brown monks' robes, hooded, stood at the water's edge near the pier.

Drumrolls, a burst of light, and a chant—"Atlas, rise! Atlas, rise! Atlas, rise!"—came from the several hundred assembled men. Klieg lights snapped on, illuminating a figure at the end of the pier, crouched in the vapors that swirled out from dry-ice machines. Slowly he got to one knee, then to his feet, apparently straining under a huge and shining white globe a yard in diameter. It was a professional body, oiled and bulbously muscular, one arm extended down behind him and one up in front to balance the orb on his upper back and neck.

"Atlas, rise! Atlas, rise!" The chant was louder, faster. Dramatically he raised the globe above his head and turned three times in the spotlight, vapor swirling to his waist. He held the pose, and a baritone voice, amplified, intoned, "Atlas, Atlas, take your rest, weight of world may you divest / And briefly here amid the Pines will rest as well the Palatines."

What Goes Around. Copyright © by Susan Diamond. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. <%END%>

Meet the Author

Susan Diamond was a fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and spent seventeen years at the Los Angeles Times as a feature writer and columnist. She has worked for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Time, People, and the Village Voice. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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