4 out of 4 stars
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Girl with the Flat Tire by Leon Loy is a thrilling crime tale of happenstance associations. Loy takes you back to the 1970s, to a little Texas town called Flat Mountain. When two initially divergent storylines converge in fatefully unexpected ways, survival becomes hoped for but not guaranteed. The story begins in the aftermath of an attack on a drug-addicted broad in her late twenties named Angel. Who’s responsible for the domestic assault? Her live-in boyfriend John Brookner, a real gem of a guy that followed her home after a ZZ Top concert. As he skips town with a duffel full of drugs, so does a machete-toting Julio, the dealer to whom John owes a significant amount of cash.
Meanwhile, in Mississippi, a sweet divorcée named Anna leaves the reminders of her adulterating husband and divorce behind as she watches her hometown fade into the rearview mirror. But when a flat tire leaves her suddenly stranded on a dusty Texas road as night falls, a handsome fella named Travis comes along. But can you trust the sudden appearance of a chivalrous, country man with a sexy southern drawl? An oilfield roughneck studying to become a certified petroleum geologist? When sweet Anna, cocaine John, and savior Travis suddenly all find themselves in a mystery trifecta, rolls of duct tape and scenes of collateral damage follow the trio across the county as Brookner leaves a trail of bloody carnage in his wake. The entire story takes place over a 48-hour period, and the level of suspense stays just as revved up as Brookner’s black-and-gold Oldsmobile 442.
Loy clearly possesses a talent for descriptive prose and an effortless ease of storytelling. He juxtaposes drug-fueled delinquents against endearing moments of blossoming love and humor. There are Native American legends, quaint antique shops, cheap motel pools, nostalgic record albums, and bell-bottom jeans. The story is told in 31 chapters, over 235 pages. I feel this book would be appropriate for adult audiences, since there are mature themes, sexual innuendos, and scattered bits of profanity present. This crime thriller is perfect for readers who like storylines with repeat offenders on the run, and for those who possess a familiarity with certain Texas state highways and towns. I did encounter a small handful of typographical and grammatical errors, but they did little to disrupt the flow.
Themes of armed robbery, suicide, cheating husbands, prostitution, kidnappings, gun violence, Apache scalpings, illicit drug use, the Viet Cong, and murder are mentioned to varying degrees throughout. There is also presence of some derogatory terminology with ethnic slurs like: “gooks, wetbacks, darkies, hicks, pigs, spics, and baboons.” Brookner's character exhibits a clear implication of cultural disdain, as he proceeds to enact a racially-motivated hate crime at a truck stop. While this set of personality traits assists in creating a true antagonist, readers who might be sensitive to such topics should be forewarned.
I award this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. There is an unexpected twist at the end, and the story offers a decisive conclusion. If you like vigilante justice, drug cartels, retribution, payback, and love at first sight, then you’ll enjoy this twisted tale of romance and revenge. As the cover states: “she wasn’t looking for trouble, but he was looking for her,” and it seems some things (and people) are simply destined to collide. This is the author’s third novel.
Girl with the Flat Tire
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