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Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hellcats by Chad…

Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hellcats

by Chad Eagleton (Editor)

Other authors: Eric Beetner, Mick Farren (Introduction)

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Edited by Chad Eagleton, with cover art by Skott Kilander this is a superb collection revolving around the broad them of (without stating the obvious) "Hoods, Hot Rods and Hellcats". It opens with a superb introduction by the late, great Mick Farren, which is an insightful piece that contextualises the cultural morass of post-War America and the rise of the "delinquent" mind-set. Farren's piece about the white picket fence, free market Utopian fantasy of American society, where the men worked and the women stayed at home (the psycho-civilised society as described by the CIA) is brilliantly eviscerated, with the rise of bikers, rock 'n' rollers and hippies almost becoming inevitable and noble acts of rebellion. It is an excellent piece and the perfect introduction for the eight stories in the collection. First up is "1958: Somewhere in Texas" by Christopher Grant, which is an amphetamine rush of a tale about homicidal lesbians on a kill spree. With the feel of the lurid '50s lesbian trash paperbacks, the story is told in episodic flashback style, with small vignettes outlining the road to doomed romance and psychotic violence. Brilliantly written by Grant, the story has a fantastic pace and almost lays out like a great exploitation grindhouse movie treatment – a superb opening to the collection. Next up is "Red Hot" by Thomas Pluck which features the desperate rivalries between Troy, his brother Bobby and Bobby's beautiful wife Karen. The story is set against a background of hot-rods and customised cars with the vernacular thrumming with the smell of burning tyres, hot oil, betrayal and revenge. Forlorn Hope" by Matthew Funk see the war-haunted ex-Corporal Dan Bayliss of the 8th Marines adopting the rock 'n' roll style and drifting into an out-of-the-way town where he falls in love with Sharon. Sharon's father, however, doesn't want his girl hanging out with Bayliss and things inevitably turn nasty. "Only the Vultures Will See Me Hang" by Nik Korpon has another couple of brothers, Charlie and Butch, both veterans of war (WWII in Butch's case; the Korean in Charlie's), riding around on Indian motorcycles holding up restaurants. Unfortunately Charlie becomes increasingly haunted by a girl with a stuffed rabbit that he encountered in combat. In "Lola" by Eric Beetner Johnny, imbued by the rebellious spirit of rock, steals a beautiful Telecaster that he nicknames Lola. It is an act that leads him into a world of grief and the dawning realisation that everything dies someday. "Blue Jeans and a Boy's Shirt" by Chad Eagleton sees veteran Lonnie Bonner picking up the lovely Daisy on a deserted night-time road. Ruminating on the Starkweather case they drive into the night but run into a group of vicious bikers. This is a distant existential story of lost souls and the discovery of love, however, silly and fleeting. The writing is evocative with a lyrical, haunted quality – you can smell the surf and hear the breakers roar as Lonnie and Daisy face down the bikers on the beach. The ending of the story is both brilliantly ambiguous and heart-breakingly poignant, leaving it in the hands of the reader as to the final fate of pair. "Scarred Angel" by Heath Lowrance is the story of Frankie Scar and the boy who loved her. A fast-living hot rod girl in a shiny bright Corvette goes on a violent crime spree with a teenager who falls passionately in love with her makes for a brilliant, speedy car-crash or a story. Told with whiplash pace and powerful language it roars to a smashingly inevitable climax. Heath Lowrance writes in iconic flourishes about an angel with "long black hair and her lovely scar" and ends the story with a splendid final sentence. Finally "Headless Hoggy Style" by David James Keaton is possibly the most provocative tale in the collection featuring a supernatural tinge. It revolves around Jake, the inscrutable Cherry and Uncle Jake and his blistering sexual predilections – the final couple of pages are jaw-dropping. With any collection, you expect to find varying quality and a couple of duds – not in “Hoods, Hot Rods and Hellcats”, every tale here is an absolute winner. Some individual tales may be a touch better than other, but the overall quality is extremely high. This is an excellent collection that I cannot recommend highly enough. ( )
  calum-iain | Jan 3, 2015 |
The title of Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hellcats says it all even before you get to the cover tag line of Drive Fast. Kill Young. Love A Pretty Girl. This anthology edited by Chad Eagleton certainly delivers on that premise. The image of the 50's depicted in Happy Days, American Graffiti, and others is quickly shattered by the introduction by Mick Farren. It sets a tone that is held up quite well by the eight authors involved in the book.

Coming up first is Christopher Grant with “1958: Somewhere In Texas” where three young lesbians are on a robbery and killing spree. Shifting in time back and forth across several months it becomes clear how things began and escalated quickly.

“Red Hot” by Thomas Puck follows next with a tale of Bobby, Karen, and the love of fast cars and beautiful woman. Both are equally dangerous and like a lot of other things can end up being expensive in so many ways.

Don Bayliss likes to steal things. It is a passion for him. 17 year old Sharon has ignited another passion in “Forlorn Hope” by Matthew Funk. Having seen combat he is looking for something. He isn't the only one looking.

Brothers Charlie and Butch rob places in “Only The Vultures Will See Me Hang” by Nik Korpon. Both served and saw combat and get along well enough most of the time. Then, there are the other times when plans don't go so well just like what often happened in combat.

A guitar is the supreme goal for John. Growing up in a Christian household he should have known not to steal it. But, he did and then things got rough in “Lola” by Eric Beetner.

Editor Chad Eagleton comes next with his tale “Blue Jeans And A Boy's shirt. “ A fast car, a sawed off shotgun, and a girl walking on a bridge change the future for Lonnie Bonner. Like other stories in the anthology, combat flashbacks play a major role in this tale. Combat that though it happened in the past still fuels the actions of Lonnie now as well as many others in these tales.

“Scarred Angel” by Heath Lowrance comes next with a tale where a beautiful hellcat is the one driving the action. Unlike most of the preceding stories where the guys are running things (or at least appear to be) in this case a woman dubbed “Frankie Scar” is definitely running the show. Scotty knew she was something when he saw her at “Jimmy Bo's.” Thanks to his buddies he finally went and said hello. Thanks to her he soon was on a wild ride he would be lucky to survive.

“Headless Hoggy Style” by David James Keaton is the final and possibly the most disturbing story of the anthology. Jake is never sure what Cherry is thinking. He plans on getting her to talk and Uncle Jake might be able to help. He also has some things to do as does his Uncle in this dark tale.

The book closes with an acknowledgments section detailing the contributions of those who kept the project alive followed by detailed bios of the contributor's.

Reviewing a collection or an anthology is tough as one does not want to give away too much and ruin the stories. This was certainly the case here with these very complicated tales. They are violence filled short stories peopled by characters that usually do what they want when they want to do it. Adult language, adult situations, and more fill the pages of this anthology that proves the point made in the introduction. There was a very dark and very violent side to the 50's and Hoods, Hot Rods and Hellcats gives you a small glimpse of that along with some solidly good stories.

Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hellcats
Editor Chad Eagleton
Self Published
August 2013
ISBN# 978-1491002537
Paperback (e-book available)
162 Pages

E-book was provided by the editor in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014 ( )
  kevinrtipple | Oct 24, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eagleton, ChadEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beetner, Ericsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Farren, MickIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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