Book Review: The Smoking Gun Sisterhood by Thad Brown (Three Stars)

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Book Review: The Smoking Gun Sisterhood by Thad Brown

(Three Stars)

“I’m not much of a theologian; but I don’t think any of them made it to the pearly gates.”

Have to take these as they are presented: a sister sub-genre to Girls-with-Swords fantasy. Not that magic is involved, beyond people shooting four and a half pound, .50 caliber automatics one-handed. Hate to be one of the “tongue-clucking critics” mentioned in the preface, but the reader must not only willingly suspend disbelief, but must murder it. It’s all good clean fun–if you ignore the blood and powder burns.

“Not ratting out another biker to the cops was an ingrained part of the code they all lived by.”

Though the stories were published in 2009, they have an 80s vibe–pay phones, fifty-cent beers, and all. Questionable police, gang, and mob procedures, but it’s not that kind of story. Lots of lengthy descriptions and sermons slow the place, plus each story includes a diatribe against smoking.

“Skip the dumb Girl Scout sermons, hottie. Moral indignation bores me.”

Brown produces excellent, if cartoon-ish short stories. His characters are well drawn and not as stereotypical as expected. Lots of on-the-nose writing–stacked adjectives and adverbs building word pictures. Examples: “Not ratting out another biker to the cops was an ingrained part of the code they all lived by” and “An old abandoned World War Two army base.”

“I can still talk really British … like I was a cockney out of the East End.” Only Cockneys talk that way in England.

Quibbles: Wonder how a teen girl earns enough “dimes and quarters” to pay for a “hog” (presumably a Harley-Davidson). Heart shots usually kill instantly; not here. Silencer on a revolver? One victim “wobbled on legs … (after the .50) severed (the) ends of this spine,” followed by several pages of dialogue before his dies.

Side comment: The weapon of choice for several heroines is the IWI Desert Eagle .50AE. Looked it up. For starters, it weighs 4.5 pounds, more than twice as much as a Colt 1911 .45 automatic. Yet in one story, the heroine fires it single-handed. A review (of the Desert Eagle) says, “Recoil of the pistol is prodigious,” partly due to a muzzle velocity that also doubles that of the 1911. “Simply the most useless gun ever made.  The most fun,” too.

“Does that mean ‘no’ is your final answer?”

I guess it’s all good, clean fun, with the above caveats. Not my style book, but I promised an honest review in return for a free e-copy. This was it.

“Don’t do anything funny because we won’t be laughing.”

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