Review - RIDING IN CARS WITH GIRLS, Evangeline Jennings

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

It's a such a simple idea when you think of it, take a standard noir setting, with added muscle cars, old cars, fast cars and gorgeous cars, and replace the male characters with female ones. It makes enormous sense to me, especially as I grew up in a country town where girls driving hotted up cars, and hanging around hotted up cars was pretty common. Granted there was a bit of dating of boys driving hotted up cars as well - but really we could have just had all those cars to ourselves.

Evangeline Jennings does a good job of building up her dark and dangerous settings and scenarios. In a series of unconnected (apart from the girls and the cars thing) short stories, a series of plot's are played out that come straight from the noir theme park. The dialogue is crisp and clever, the settings are frequently dry and dusty or mean and nasty, although there's some in the story 911 that could have come straight from the Scandi-tourism bods.

The twisting of expectation is done so elegantly and seamlessly that there's nothing here at all that screams "setup". That idea of women on the edge is so convincingly delivered, so believable that there's not a speed bump in sight when it comes to accepting either plot or motivation. Everything in these short stories is as it should be when it comes to dark, twisted and desperate. The sex is explicitly love, lust and control; the drinking is hard; the language is profane and profound; and the cars, of course, are fast and dangerous. Anybody who has read the other short story collection, CARS & GIRLS will recognise the last story - CROWN VICTORIA from that so there's a good opportunity for a re-read right there.

Fans of noir stylings, of pointed, sharp and unexpected storytelling that pulls no punches, holds no bars and gets right up in your face really should be doing themselves a favour and reading both of these collections.

Year of Publication

A transgressive and cauterising crime fiction collection with more twists and turns than a high mountain road, Riding in Cars with Girls is a hard, fast, and beautifully dangerous read. Consider the evidence:

FIREBIRD -- A small town cocktail waitress. A glamorous stranger behind the wheel of a stolen muscle car. A raging forest fire. What could possibly go wrong?

ESCORT -- A high class hooker fucks a Mafia Don to death and the fallout forces an undercover Fed to make the toughest call of her career. Should she do her job or the right thing?

911 -- Alex is doomed. Nikki's along for the ride. Something about fjords.

AUDI -- South London's finest teenage car thieves stake their lives on an illegal road race.

TRANS AM -- A widow hunts her husband's killer across America. Route 666.

CROWN VICTORIA -- Two young runaway lovers with a steep price on their heads take a savage roadtrip through every kind of crazy.

Riding In Cars With Girls -- Dangerous curves ahead.

Review Review - RIDING IN CARS WITH GIRLS, Evangeline Jennings
Karen Chisholm
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Blog Currently Reading - Riding in Cars with Girls, Evangeline Jennings
Karen Chisholm
Monday, January 26, 2015

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