Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cars and Girls

Title: Cars and Girls
Author: Pankhearst Writers Collection (Madeline Harvey, Evangeline Jennings, Zoƫ Spencer,Tee Tyson)

Genre: Fiction (Short Stories / Contemporary / Noir / Southern US / Midwest US / Crime / Murder / Motherhood)
Publisher/Publication Date: Pankhearst (5/24/2013)
Source: The publisher

Rating: Looooooooooooooooooooved. A favorite of 2013.
Did I finish?: Oh hell yes.
One-sentence summary: Four dark, devastating stories of bad ass women, their bad ass cars, and their bad ass problem solving skills.
Reading Challenges: E-book

Do I like the cover?: Love it. It is exactly what I want for this volume and could be any one of the heroines.

First line: Today is the day I get my freedom., from 'Road Runner'

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy, buy, buy (currently $3.99 for an ebook) if you like bad ass women, fast cars, over-the-top action films with seriously messed up settings.

Why did I get this book?: I love noir and I especially love women in noir.

Review: I don't even know where to start with this review other than to say I loved every word of this book.

This volume of four brutal short stories depict a wide range of heroines: a monied Brit finishing off a deranged family acquaintance; a Nebraskan ex-con with a seriously effed up childhood and an equally serious grudge; an Arkansas waitress determined to protect her sister from the violence of the local boys; and a Southern hitwoman on the run with a minxy Miami bombshell.

I can't recall reading a book with this level of twisted moodiness, unabashed violence, and evocative ambiance featuring dangerous heroines in the lead (usually it's men who get this kind of fun!).  Megan Abbott comes close, but I find her fiction is more homage-y of classic pulp and noir, while this collection leans toward Drive and Quentin Tarantino's films.

Each story has a different flavor, but the writing is fast, punchy, gritty, wild.  The reader is immediately plunged into the action, no preamble, and I was literally breathless at the end of each story. The book is full of fabulous lines, evocative and pretty and wrong -- Crossing the lobby, heels clicking against the tiles like an angry Geiger counter, something out of place catches my eyes. (from 'Crown Victoria' by Evangeline Jennings, p131) -- and despite their violence, I loved every single one of our heroines.  (But I'm a sucker for a good anti-hero.)

Highly, highly recommended -- this is a favorite of 2013 -- this book is great for dirty, diverting evenings or weekends. If you like gritty, gruesome, and gorgeous, get this collection. Pankearst is new to me but I'm hooked; there's a sequel to this volume in the works and I can.not.wait.


  1. Wow! Sounds like an amazing RIP reading choice. At first glance I probably wouldn't have thought about it for myself, but your review has me totally interested! Thanks!

    1. You know, I almost recommended it for RIP -- it's not supernatural/paranormal in the least, or even horror -- but there's something gruesome and dark that makes it perfect (and zippy!) for october!

  2. I like kick-ass heroines, too, and this does sound like a lot of fun!

  3. This sounds a little too dark for me, but I'm glad you enjoyed it so much :)

    1. Fair enough -- it might not be everyone's tastes, but it's wonderful for those who really like it dark!

  4. My first thought was the usually men thing - love the idea of this and that they aren't necessarily (or at all?) your regular good heroine.

    1. Exactly -- they're definitely anti-heroines and I adored all of them for that. My wife is reading this collection now and loving it, too -- so so messed up!