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
Paperback (e-book available)
E-book was provided by the editor in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2014