Review - CARS & GIRLS, Zoë Spencer, Tee Tyson, Madeline Harvey & Evangeline Jennings

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

The combination of cars and girls makes absolute sense to me. Include them in a series of noir styled, dark and pointed short stories, and CARS & GIRLS from the Pankhurst Collective was both unexpected and an absolute pleasure to read.

Whilst the central theme of cars and girls carries through each of the stories in the collection, they are a varied bunch, in setting, style and resolution. The exciting thing though is that no punches are pulled. This is a dark and frequently violent collection, full of explicit sex and gun battles putting the central female characters in the sorts of roles normally allocated to men. And doing it seamlessly.

Given that each story has it's own particular flavour and style, there are some aspects (other than the darkness and the violence) that hold throughout. Each story is fast-paced, strong, gritty and in your face. That's not to say that anything is particularly gratuitous, it's finely balanced noir. There's tension and pace in most of them, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, although to be fair, the first story, 500, is of a slightly less frenetic pace, and perhaps a little more predictable than what's to come.

The collection is made up of 500 by Zoë Spencer, Road Runner by Tee Tyson, Barracuda by Madeline Harvey and Crown Victoria by Evangeline Jennings.

CARS & GIRLS definitely isn't a book for fans of traditional women protagonists. You get the distinct feeling the only use that any of these women would have for a teapot couldn't be discussed in polite society. It is, however, one for readers interested in something different, smart, stylish, and undeniably very clever.

Year of Publication

Bad things happen. Everybody dies. But the girl in the red dress kicks against the pricks. Four merciless and compelling stories by emerging writers from Canada, the UK, and USA.

From behind the wheel of her father's lovingly restored Barracuda, a waitress will protect her baby sister at all costs.

A nihilistic junkie whore hell bent on revenge snatches a last-gasp shot at an unlikely redemption. Her father sold her virginity for the price of a custom paint job. Now she's back and she's taking the whole damn car.

An English aristocrat drives across Europe to end a bloody feud before it consumes the next generation.

And two young runaway lovers with a steep price on their heads take a savage road trip through all kinds of crazy.

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