Monday, June 24, 2013

A Bad Day for Sorry

Sophie Littlefield
A Bad Day for Sorry

Minotaur, 2009

Stella Hardesty is already over fifty and she is a widow. Stella killed her husband, once struck him on the head. Ollie, a husband, constantly drank and beat Stella up, but one day her patience came to an end. Stella didn’t go to prison, and to deal with husbands Hardesty made her profession. On weekdays, Stella keeps sewing shop, and she does freelance jobs on the weekends. Clients, women from the neighborhood, complain to Stella about their husbands or boyfriends if those use their fists , and Stella has serious conversations with ne’er-do-well husbands, explaining why it is not good, to beat and mock their own wives. If husbands do not heed verbal warnings, Stella with fists and other punishment tools hammers in negligent men lesson of obedience. Typically it helps. That is just business.

One client of Stella, a young mother Chrissy Shaw, however, is faced with the situation that is more complicated: her brute husband Roy Dean did not let up after numerous warnings and kidnapped Chrisy’s young son Tucker. Stella needs as soon as possible to find the boy and his kidnapper who are in trouble with the law, and apparently even made friends with the local mob.

Stella Hardesty is a breath of fresh air after a homogeneous mass of similar heroines of semi-criminal novels written by women. Stella is far from the typical heroine of today's women's environment: she is not young, does not wear a short skirt and high heels, is able to handle a weapon, and her main occupation is not sitting in the office where the nearest to a crime that can happen is if someone throws on someone a glass of water at the cooler.

Stella doesn’t have time to sit on her bum, she works two jobs, and not for the sake of money, she doesn’t have a plentiful of children: the one and only daughter does not talk to her mother after Stella chastised her for shacking up with an ex-con. Hardesty is trying for a universal, and especially a woman's, justice.

«Early in her justice-delivering career, the thought of being suspected of favoring kinky sexual practices was intensely embarrassing, especially since the source of the rumors came about for only the most practical reasons. Being five feet six, overweight, and out of shape, Stella had managed to pull a muscle in her lower back the first time she tied up a recalcitrant jerk at gunpoint. She almost shot him by accident as she staggered around, yelping in pain. There was also the fact that the knot-tying skills she learned in Girl Scouts weren't up to the task: the same guy, as Stella waved the gun around wildly, managed to get his wrists free. It was only slightly reassuring that he immediately fell over as he tried to run away, having forgotten that his ankles were still bound.

Stella realized she had to make some changes. She started a fitness program, but she knew she also needed to find a more reliable way to subdue a man. She had a vague notion of learning some paramilitary restraint techniques that might rely more on finesse than brute force, but Google searches for words like restraint and shackle kept popping up bondage sites.»

A Bad Day for Sorry is the first book in the series, with a touch of pulp fiction and lively plot, flavored with salty language and like running-into-the-problems style.

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