The new thriller from Avon/Harper Collins – The Madam – is arousing a great deal of interest, partly because of its topical subject matter.
It tells the story of a woman who is jailed for a crime she didn’t commit.
Lizzie Wells was an escort who was accused of stabbing one of her clients to death. But while she languished in a prison cell tragedy struck, and her only child died because she wasn’t there to save him.
When she’s finally released she sets out to prove her innocence – and to seek revenge against those people who framed her.
The author, Jaime Raven, gave this insight into how the book came to be written:
Out of interest I researched other miscarriages of justice and was shocked at just how many there have been over the years.
It occurred to me how easy it is for innocent people to be framed, especially people such as prostitutes who might be considered easy targets.
That became the starting point for the story. Before creating the main character, Lizzie wells, I spoke to a woman who used to run an escort agency in Southampton, where the book is set. She gave me an invaluable insight into how sex workers in the city operate and how vulnerable they are.
I didn’t realise until then just how big the business of prostitution is in this country.
Figures released in 2014 showed that at least one prostitute – or escort – is attacked every day in the UK.
What’s more bad experiences with the police deter most sex workers from reporting crimes, which encourages criminals to attack them.
Some reports claim that there are over 80,000 female prostitutes in the country. While most of them work in the major cities, a fair few operate in smaller centres such as Southampton.
It’s a sordid, risky business for all those involved and it’s clear that it will continue to grow along with the population.
In The Madam I focus on how one woman’s quest to make easy money by selling her body eventually brings her world crashing down.
Who knows? Perhaps it could be seen as a valuable lesson for anyone who might be thinking of taking up the world’s oldest profession.