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Sex, Drugs . . . and Sarah: review of Hot Pursuit by Rebecca Freeborn

May 8, 2018

Sarah Burrowes is one mixed up woman. She’s a former beauty therapist who doesn’t wear makeup and dreams of  being a hot shot investigative reporter. So far, she’s stuck writing beauty columns for the gossip mag, Women’s Choice. And, there she’s likely to stay because Sarah wouldn’t know a celebrity if she stumbled over one…which, of course, is what she does.

One night, whilst drowning her sorrows in a nightclub, she strikes up a conversation with rockstar Chris, the handsome lead singer of a hot indie band touring Australia. He’s amused and grateful to find she hasn’t a clue who he is and he lends a sympathetic ear as Sarah pours out her heart about being dumped by the love of her life, James, who walked out three months ago leaving her with a humungous mortgage she can’t meet.

Chris has his own problems and it’s not long before shared sympathy and alcohol-fuelled lust has the pair heading to his hotel suite for some sizzling sex. However, they’ve scarcely ripped off their clothes when a persistent phone call intrudes and the rockstar’s demeanour changes from relaxed and happy to fearful and frantic. Sarah overhears him saying he’ll catch a flight to Barcelona before he quickly dresses, grabs his guitar and apologetically leaves her standing in her underwear.

And, so begins Sarah’s hot pursuit …along with her metamorphosis from underrated, heartbroken ‘Beauty Girl’ and bumbling rookie reporter to crime-busting, kick-ass journo. Along the way, this 30-something Melbourne woman isn’t above lying, dressing as a prostitute (albeit one with professionally painted ‘smoky eyes’) and putting herself in danger as she and her much-loathed photographer, Nick, chase their quarry – and an international drugs cartel – across five of Europe’s most romantic cities.

The banter between the feisty Sarah and the egocentric Nick – a former one night stand and her ex’s best friend – provides many amusing highlights ranging from potty-mouthed abuse to hilarious jibes and outrageous flirting as the pair renegotiate their relationship and Sarah’s conflicted feelings for James. Sarah’s discovery of a world outside Melbourne also makes one smile as she ogles at ancient monuments (the oldest columned building she’s previously seen is Melbourne Town Hall) and navigates the streets of Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Copenhagen and the canals of Venice.

Author Rebecca Freeborn freely admits her ‘partner and best friend, George’, provided the inspiration for Sarah and Nick’s dialogue while the lead character of Sarah Burrowes ‘moved into my brain back in 2009 and refused to leave’.

‘For many years she languished in the virtual bottom drawer while I wrote other stories, had babies and accepted that she probably wasn’t going to fit in within the other characters in the bookstores,’ says Rebecca in her acknowledgements. ‘But you can’t keep a tough woman down and in 2016 the good people at Pantera Press saw her as I did and now she’s elbowing her way into the world after all.’

And, it’s a good job she is as her endearing antics and ambitions make Hot Pursuit a perfect holiday read.


About the author

Rebecca Freeborn lives in the Adelaide hills with a husband, three kids, a dog, a cat, a horse and an ever-diminishing wine collection. She works for the SA Government as a communications and content editor and spends her spare time reading novels and feminist articles and compulsively checking Facebook. Hot Pursuit is her publishing debut.

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