Reviews||

Cars & Girls: The Pankhearst Femme-Noir Sampler

26th Jun 2013

★★★★
cars-and-girls-kindle-cover
"Bad things happen. Everybody dies. But the girl in the red dress kicks against the pricks. In these merciless and compelling stories, four emerging writers set a new standard for noir."

That’s the cover blurb for Cars & Girls, the first book from new independent writers collective Pankhearst. You might have heard us mention it in our latest podcast episode, in which we featured Cars & Girls author Tee Tyson reading from her story, Road Runner.

And based on the above intro, Cars & Girls is every bit as violent, vivid, visceral and vengeance-driven as you might expect. So of course I loved every second.

It features stories from four emerging authors: the aforementioned Tee Tyson alongside Evangeline Jennings (who edited the collection and also appears in both Short Stack and Derby Shorts), Madeline Harvey and Zoë Spencer.

Pankhearst recognises that the publishing industry is changing. That traditional, mainstream publishers have less time, money and room on their rosters for unknown authors than ever before.

So they’ve taken matters into their hands and found a solution; coming up with “a way to write, collaborate, and get ourselves into the market while we continue to hone our talents and wait for our inevitable six figure deal.”

Cars & Girls is the first project born of that process, and it’s a strong start, featuring a cast of brave, badass but damaged heroines who fuck, fight, love and lie, swinging from fragility to ferocity with more speed and power than their weapons or getaway cars.

But it isn't all blood, gore and cutesy quips while the world goes to hell. This is no trashy, two-dimensional pulp.But it isn’t all blood, gore and cutesy quips while the world goes to hell. This is no trashy, two-dimensional pulp. Instead, the authors in Cars & Girls play with those tropes and make them entirely their own, creating characters you’d probably want to go for a joyride of your own with, as well as want on your side in a fight.

And while those characters inevitably have traits in common; it’s their different backgrounds, desires, losses and loyalties that drive them, making them feel authentic, original and their pains and pleasures even rawer.

While some of the stories are stronger than others, overall it’s a fast-paced, compelling collection painted in harsh Tarantino technicolour, perfect for hot days and nights.

The stories in Cars & Girls bite, batter and bruise. At times they’re uncomfortable and uncompromising, while at others they’re beautiful and bittersweet. And they’re guaranteed to get your engine running.

Published last month by Pankhearst, Cars & Girls is available from Amazon in paperback or for Kindle.