Book review: The Key to It All by Joanna Rees

The Key To It All
The Key To It All
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Joanna Rees has always liked a big stage for her racy novels featuring tales of wealth, glamour, greed and corruption…

But her latest epic, The Key to It All, sails into new and spectacular territory as she explores the notion of unlocking the door to riches beyond your wildest dreams.

As five seemingly random people from five very different corners of the world receive a mysterious ‘key’ to luxury, power and privilege, how they deal with their good fortune becomes the lynchpin of gripping and fascinating page-turner.

It is Rees’ most ambitious novel to date, transporting us with her usual ease to a world of glitz and glamour but this time illuminated by a deftly handled and compelling plot which weaves a subtle course between the five leading characters and their moral maze of choices.

Five people don’t know it yet but their lives are about to change forever. Shrouded in secrecy, a silver key is delivered to each of them along with a code and web address and a promise that, used wisely, the key will unlock immense wealth.

Julia Pires is a teacher at a slum school in Rio de Janeiro where she does her best to give the street kids a basic education but longs to be able to give them a better future as well.

Norwegian doctor Christian Erickson has spent decades as a charity worker in war-torn central Somalia where drought and some of the worst fighting in Africa has brought death and bloodshed on a grand scale.

In New York, bit-part actress Scooter Black dreams of a being an A-list movie star and is always on the verge of that elusive ‘big break’ while Kamiko Nazaki in Osaka, Japan, endures the daily grind of working in a sushi factory after her rich father gambled away his fortune and then killed himself.

And in London, city trader Harry Cassidy’s complicated personal life and a bitter rivalry with a fellow worker has got him into a serious scrape which threatens his whole future.

As each of them uses the powers offered by the key, they all start to question why they have been chosen and find themselves propelled into a world of challenges and choices which will test their mettle… and their courage.

Filled with her trademark fast-paced action, high drama, wit, suspense and sex appeal, The Key to It All is Rees’ best novel yet. There is everything we have come to expect and more… a sexy novel with a moral heart, a tale of excess with a warm sense of awareness, a cautionary tale with a conscience.

Where next for this flourishing writer?

(Pan, paperback, £7.99)