Simone Kirsch is a Stripper (exotic dancer) turned Private Investigator working the fringe of Melbourne constantly, it would seem, in and around the sex industry.
In RUBDOWN Simone and her new PI boss Tony are called in to look for the daughter of a well-known, respectable barrister. His daughter seems to have got caught up in drugs and the sex industry herself. When she commits suicide whilst Simone is supposedly watching her from outside the flat, things start to get a lot more complicated than Simone and Tony want. Simone's PI license is threatened and so is her life.
Leigh Redhead has created a great PI in the character of Simone. She's in the long tradition of female PI's with attitude, although there's a strong sense of humour and Australian-ness in Simone that makes her a great character to spend time with. Her rocky path to love seems to have stabilised a little in this book, although there's a twist (isn't there always). Given that both Simone (and Leigh) have spent time working in the striptease industry the surrounding characters from that world are sympathetic, if not slightly out there, for the average reader. As with Redhead's first book PEEPSHOW, the sex scenes in RUBDOWN are a lot more on the explicit side than some of the similar style books (Liz Evan's Grace Smith for example).
The mystery in this book is a rollercoaster thriller, the plot is deftly handled and nicely twisted. Some of the outcomes are easy to see coming, but that doesn't matter - this is a book about Simone and how she copes with her world and the series is a great, entertaining romp.