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The Smoking Gun Sisterhood

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Collection of 10 crime fiction stories, featuring women as gun-toting action protagonists. The treatment of these heroines is admiring and respectful. Stories included are: "Biker Angel," "Cops and Robbers," "The Falcon of Bitmesh," "The Capta and the Cop," "The Capta and the Cop, Part II," "Lights Out," "Sisters, Dark and Light," "An Afternoon at the Beach," "'Tis the Sea Collection of 10 crime fiction stories, featuring women as gun-toting action protagonists. The treatment of these heroines is admiring and respectful. Stories included are: "Biker Angel," "Cops and Robbers," "The Falcon of Bitmesh," "The Capta and the Cop," "The Capta and the Cop, Part II," "Lights Out," "Sisters, Dark and Light," "An Afternoon at the Beach," "'Tis the Season," and "New Day at the Office."


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Collection of 10 crime fiction stories, featuring women as gun-toting action protagonists. The treatment of these heroines is admiring and respectful. Stories included are: "Biker Angel," "Cops and Robbers," "The Falcon of Bitmesh," "The Capta and the Cop," "The Capta and the Cop, Part II," "Lights Out," "Sisters, Dark and Light," "An Afternoon at the Beach," "'Tis the Sea Collection of 10 crime fiction stories, featuring women as gun-toting action protagonists. The treatment of these heroines is admiring and respectful. Stories included are: "Biker Angel," "Cops and Robbers," "The Falcon of Bitmesh," "The Capta and the Cop," "The Capta and the Cop, Part II," "Lights Out," "Sisters, Dark and Light," "An Afternoon at the Beach," "'Tis the Season," and "New Day at the Office."

44 review for The Smoking Gun Sisterhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I’ll begin by declaring that, in many, many ways, Thad Brown’s the Smoking Gun Sisterhood is one of the most refreshing reads I’ve had this year. As a radical feminist reader, my bar for feminist informed fiction is extremely high, so much so that I have quit entire series, panned otherwise amazing thrillers/police procedurals/mystery novels and DNF’d books with promising blurbs and glowing reviews from like-minded friends. I’m happy to say that, for the most-part, Brown’s stories did not prompt I’ll begin by declaring that, in many, many ways, Thad Brown’s the Smoking Gun Sisterhood is one of the most refreshing reads I’ve had this year. As a radical feminist reader, my bar for feminist informed fiction is extremely high, so much so that I have quit entire series, panned otherwise amazing thrillers/police procedurals/mystery novels and DNF’d books with promising blurbs and glowing reviews from like-minded friends. I’m happy to say that, for the most-part, Brown’s stories did not prompt any of these actions; a good number of the tales are compelling and feature autonomous, independent heroines willing and able to do what’s necessary to effect transformative change and protect the vulnerable. That said, as a feminist reader/ analyst, I’d be remiss if I did not pay special attention to those aspects of the collection that fall short of the mark. There is a heavy undercurrent of mitigation. More specifically, the attitudes and behaviors these women demonstrate are almost always attributable to deep trauma or poor life choices. Nearly all of the women in this collection are either on the wrong side of the law or afflicted with psychological and/or emotional trauma that informs and/or accounts for their perceptions of right and wrong, as well as their willingness and ability to demonstrate, without hesitation, gender transgressive behavior. Just once, I’d like to see a kickass heroine who is well-adjusted and whose “transgressive” behaviors are legally sanctioned and socially acceptable. This is not to say that none of the sisters fall into this category, but enough of them fall into the “not quite right” box that it’s worth noting. Also, for a collection that professes to distinguish itself as one emblematic of a uniquely feminist subgenre, The Smoking Gun Sisterhood positions men as vital to the women’s morality, survival and happiness. Men play their traditional roles as protectors, behavior modifiers, potential providers, paternal figures and finger shakers. Ultimately, The Smoking Gun Sisterhood manages to pass, with flying colors, the Bechtel test and meet most of the criteria for feminist storytelling while simultaneously echoing the sexist morality of cautionary tales, as well as the antifeminist reassurances that afflict female led police procedurals, mysteries, crime thrillers and suspense novels. To begin, troubling, if not necessarily problematic, is the obtrusive didacticism that underlies most of the tales, the implications of which serve to either legitimate or perpetuate the notion of armed and violent women as figures emblematic of “male imitation,” a phenomenon maligned in antifeminist circles and regarded by some biological essentialists as symptomatic of moral, biological or emotional denaturation. In particular, the story involving three female bank robbers echoes socially and fiscally conservative principles of female chastity and traditional marriage and its accompanying gender roles. Lizzy, the protagonist, engages in premarital sex with a man she does not love and, following the dissolution of her shotgun marriage, becomes the cliched single mother that is the subject of nearly every anti-welfare argument and/or piece of legislation I’ve ever seen. Rather than availing herself and her children of government programs that would supplement her meager income, she opts to support herself and her children on waitress’s wages that prove so insufficient as to necessitate multiple federal offenses. Meant to contextualize her actions and render her character more sympathetic, Lizzie’s backstory functions instead to establish a clear relationship between the profound and far-reaching consequences of premarital sex, mainly teen pregnancy and the kind of poverty that many like to link to crime. The thesis, or theme, articulated in this cautionary tale is that naughty little girls who violate traditional social and sexual norms may wind up dead or in prison because the recipients of their free milk aren’t going to be inclined to do their duty as men. By remaining chaste until marriage, they can remain unmarried to the state and free of the kind of desperation that makes criminal behavior look like a viable option. Overall, the morality seems almost to function as an explanation, perhaps an apology for the gender transgressive behavior. The collection also takes its cues from fairytales, employing the damsel in distress trope in ways you may not have seen before. Romance, marriage and family are panaceas for criminal and otherwise socially “inappropriate” behavior and the consequences thereof. This phenomenon is most apparent in “Cops and Robbers,” “The Capta and the Cop” and its sequel, three tales involving lovers on opposing sides of the law and traditional female aspiration as an antidote to lawlessness and blurred morality. To continue, this collection is plagued with redundant reassurances that the sisterhood does not relish the wielding of their smoking guns; this repeated assurance is made all the more superfluous by the critical preface, which, if only by implication, takes care to distinguish the sisters from the dark and/or unnatural attitudes displayed by their literary counterparts. Equally redundant is the employment of smoking, a vice which the author explicitly states is a dangerous and abhorrent habit. This motif seems critical to the underlying message of the collection, but I’m not clear on how or why; perhaps a reread is in order. :) To be clear, the critiques above are less about the quality of the stories (they're excellent) than the strength of the collection as a feminist text. I highly recommend The Smoking Gun Sisterhood to fans of kickass heroines and inspirational stories. Four Stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    I view self-published books with great suspicion, but I'm glad I got this one. The ten stories of tough, competent women who faced the violence of life head on with an equalizer. They did a good job of it too. Every story is logically laid out. The motivations are clear & believable for all the characters. Most stories feature some sort of moral dilemma for the heroine because often she's strayed from the path of good. Good is defined by Christian morals. It's pretty obvious that Brown is very mu I view self-published books with great suspicion, but I'm glad I got this one. The ten stories of tough, competent women who faced the violence of life head on with an equalizer. They did a good job of it too. Every story is logically laid out. The motivations are clear & believable for all the characters. Most stories feature some sort of moral dilemma for the heroine because often she's strayed from the path of good. Good is defined by Christian morals. It's pretty obvious that Brown is very much into his religion & his characters usually find redemption through this. Sometimes that was a bit much for me, since I don't subscribe to it myself. Still, it's the belief system that the character uses that's important & it was consistent. Many of the stories are based on pictures that have the women smoking. The author is obviously a non-smoker & doesn't like it. As a smoker myself, I found that getting old sometimes. The action is good. Situations are well setup & the heroine doesn't have to be a super heroine in order to win, just gutsy. IOW, there aren't any 5'2" women beating up men a foot taller & 100 lbs heavier through sheer strength. That's why they have guns & more nerve. The titles of the stories are:"Biker Angel;" "Cops and Robbers;" "The Falcon of Bitmesh;" "The Capta and the Cop;" "The Capta and the Cop, Part II;" "Lights Out;" "Sisters, Dark and Light;" "An Afternoon at the Beach;" "'Tis the Season;" and "New Day at the Office." Anyway, well worth reading for action heroine fans.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Thad Brown

    March 17, 2020: I've just switched this review to the new second edition of the Kindle e-book (the old one is no longer available). The new edition corrects a few technical bloopers in the first one, caused by my ignorance of firearms, etc. I'm glad to have now made the book as good as it can be! Most readers (me included) are skeptical of authors reviewing their own books. My bias is obvious; but in this case, I think it's worthwhile for readers to get a view of the author's own perspective. I'l March 17, 2020: I've just switched this review to the new second edition of the Kindle e-book (the old one is no longer available). The new edition corrects a few technical bloopers in the first one, caused by my ignorance of firearms, etc. I'm glad to have now made the book as good as it can be! Most readers (me included) are skeptical of authors reviewing their own books. My bias is obvious; but in this case, I think it's worthwhile for readers to get a view of the author's own perspective. I'll try to be more descriptive than evaluative, and to be as objective as I can. Basically, these stories are admiring and respectful celebrations of gun-packing women as kick-butt heroines, for readers of both genders who appreciate heroines of this type. Of the nine heroines of the ten stories --one is featured twice, but other than that, the stories aren't related to each other, except by theme-- seven were directly inspired by drawings on the Internet, which set the parameters for the characters and premises of the stories. This is not high-brow literature; it's strictly modern pulp fiction (the first stories were written as a lark, and to entertain an Internet pen pal, who liked them). Most of the stories do feature dynamic characters who face ethical decisions of some sort or grow in some way (the two stories where the characters remain static are admittedly the weakest ones structurally). Also, the heroines aren't clones of each other, though most have some rough edges --I tried to make them distinct characters, who run a gamut from upright ladies in law enforcement to those from the wrong side of the tracks (and sometimes of the law). But while I did try to do some research, especially on firearms, and to use texture to create an illusion of verisimilitude, if concrete realism is your thing, this is apt to be a disappointment. The stories are true to life morally and psychologically, in that they respect moral verities and reflect both the good and evil people are capable of (and the shades of gray in between) and the ways people actually might respond to these situations. But I haven't lived in most of the geographical settings; and much of the sociology, legal backgrounds, police procedure, etc. here doesn't rest on much (if any) basis. For example, while the medieval Mafia did originate with a certain code of honor, and the modern form retains lip service to, and vestigial traces of it, the existence of a single isolated Mafia family today that holds an honor code as strict and ethically-conscious as Maria Magdalena's would be about as likely as a unicorn sighting; and how much the portrayal of biker gangs in "Biker Angel" corresponds to real ones would be dubious. (The Wolf's Head Tavern probably no more resembles anything in the real world than the Mos Eisley cantina on Star Wars.) We're in the realm of make-believe here, so you just have to sit back and enjoy it! This isn't commercial "Christian fiction" (it's obviously grittier, in subject matter and style); but it is fiction written by a practicing Christian. While significant Christian content only appears in two stories, my view of the world affects all of them. and the way I write. Morally, the villains here, whatever their gender, are usually radically evil; but the heroines have genuinely heroic qualities, and even where they aren't making the best ethical choices, they aren't genuinely evil (or, at least, not irredeemable). There's also a recognition that all people face choices and temptations, and that people can change for the better. The villains may have coarse sexual attitudes, but the heroines don't; there's no explicit sex in the book and the story plots aren't about sex. (In a couple of cases, it's clear that unmarried sex took place; but the only time that happens between a hero and a heroine --in rather unusual circumstances-- they both acknowledge that it's wrong, and it's essential to the unfolding of the story, not dragged in for its own sake. In several stories, I tried to include wholesome sexual messages.) This is significant, since a lot of people view this whole genre of fiction as sex-oriented porn, sleazy and kinky. It's true that for most male fans, a part of the mystique of pistol-packing action heroines is that they're seen as attractive. But that's not a perception that's lewd in itself; unlike porn, this type of fiction is actually based on a view that looks up to women and sees them as strong and competent, not as contemptible things to be used. Language used in the stories avoids obscenity, profanity, cursing, etc. (some characters use a few vulgarisms). Because of the type of fiction this is, violence is obviously more prevalent; in a few instances it's a bit graphic (with an innocent on the receiving end, in one case), and most of the stories wind up with at least one dead body --and sometimes quite a few. But the level of violence, again, is determined by the needs of the story, not injected for its own sake (one story doesn't have any actual violence, because it doesn't need any). Personally, I believe the "moral tendency" of the stories, as Victorian critics used to put it, is ultimately good rather than bad. This ought to give you enough descriptive information to decide if you'd like to try the book. If you do, I sincerely hope you enjoy it!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rogue-van (the Bookman)

    As a known action-heroine fan, I was given a free copy of this book to review. I was NOT disappointed! Since I seldom read short stories, I wasn't sure if they would hold my attention. They did! Like Louis L'Amour short stories, which I do read, these have grit. They grab you. Girls with guns get into difficult situations. In each crisis there is the raw excitement of pulp fiction. But there is more than just action. These are not cardboard-cutout women. They have depth. You find yourself wonder As a known action-heroine fan, I was given a free copy of this book to review. I was NOT disappointed! Since I seldom read short stories, I wasn't sure if they would hold my attention. They did! Like Louis L'Amour short stories, which I do read, these have grit. They grab you. Girls with guns get into difficult situations. In each crisis there is the raw excitement of pulp fiction. But there is more than just action. These are not cardboard-cutout women. They have depth. You find yourself wondering with them, "How did I get in this situation?" And of critical importance, "How do I get out of this situation!?! I found myself attracted to many of these empowered women. Life may have slapped them in the face, but they have found the inner strength to slap back. Some have been used and abused. Others have determined NOT to be, whatever the cost. Here are women you would like to meet. Here are women you would want to ride the river with. Here are women standing on the edge of a precipice, staring at death. Ten of them: 1. BIKER ANGEL. A loner. A biker. A tough woman. She enjoyed sitting on a high hill overlooking the Pacific Northwest coast, then plunging down on her "hog" at breakneck speeds. Some things were worth risking death for. Pistol-Packin' Kate was about to find another one. . . / I could read a whole novel about this Valkyrie. 2. COPS AND ROBBERS. A tight-knit threesome, desperate for money, has figured out the best place to get it. They're young. They've got guns. They've cased the place. Surely nothing could go wrong? . . . Yeah, right!? / I kept wondering, "What were they thinking?!" 3. THE FALCON OF BITMESH. Fledgling P.I. Samantha Mallet was about to plunge into danger. Desperate for work, she got curious about a rival investigator's guarding-and-delivering job. Can ancient Egyptian artifacts really carry a curse? / Shades of Indiana Jones! There is always something fascinating, and a little spooky, about objects liberated from tombs. 4. THE CAPTA AND THE COP. For over a year, 32-year-old Nate Keller had been working under cover in the Vistaconti crime family. He had become quite attached to the boss, 29-year-old Maria Magdalena Visconti. The feeling was mutual. And this was going to work out how?! / Wow! Frustration here. I got zapped by this one. 5. THE CAPTA AND THE COP, PART II. Did you ever wonder how it would have turned out if you could have done something over in your life? What if there was an alternate world where Maria had taken the advice of her enforcers and had taken the first step toward showing Nate how she felt about him? What if there could be a rewind on the previous story? / Great idea! I really loved this one! 6. LIGHTS OUT. Crime lord Dominic Scalzi's soiree for some of Atlanta's richest-and-most-crooked politicians and business leaders is going to be a night to remember. But not for the reasons that he had in mind. Not if Shandra Kendall can help it. / A slinky "escort" is going to interrupt a crime lord's party? I kept thinking, "Is she out of her mind?" 7. SISTERS DARK AND LIGHT. Ah! Kidnapping and murder! It made Moira's day. "Knowing that she was strong and could hurt and kill something weaker always made her feel filled with power, . . . an arbiter of destiny like the God she claimed not to believe in." (p. 191) Formerly in CIA black ops, she felt nearly invincible. BUT, she was about to be tracked by a formidable foe, FBI Special Agent Sheila Knight. Clearing the earth of lowlife scum made Sheila's day. And, she was really good with a gun. Better than most men. / Two unusually dangerous females are on a collision course! This is a good read. A little scary though. 8. AN AFTERNOON AT THE BEACH. Getting away to her family's estate at the beach seemed just like what Brandy needed. The funerals had been hard on her. Her new friend Evan was there to give her a shoulder to cry on if she needed it. But with the suspicious deaths in her family recently, maybe going to such an isolated spot wasn't such a good idea. / Girls who inherit a lot of money should be more careful! Oh boy. Yup. 9. 'TIS THE SEASON. Christmas eve was a strange time to take care of business. But this business was urgent. Candy was at a crisis point in her life. Her head said, "Your whole career could come crashing down!" Her heart said, "Risk it." / Wow. What Candy was contemplating could blow up in her face. If she survived, this would be a Christmas she would never forget! Hard to forget this story too. 10. NEW DAY AT THE OFFICE. Did you ever have a job that really sucked? Carol did. Mr. Grindley was a boss from hell. Well, enough is enough. Tonight, they were going to have a little private "talk." / I think Carol's sanity must have been pushed to the edge. And people in that state of mind should not carry a Colt Python .357 in their purse! Don't try this at home! Not a short story fan? Me neither. But if you want to walk on the wild side with some kick-butt action heroines, try these stories. Step into the lives of women who dare. Feel for them, with them. If I had been an alpha reader, I would have recommended a tweak here and there, like shorter endings, but I wouldn't have wanted to change much. These women tugged at my heart.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aisling

    Pulp fiction/Women with Guns/Kickass great stories of strong women. Such a variety of characters/stories/morals. Loved it!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    The rise of self-publishing has provided an opportunity for authors to distribute their product directly to the public – it’s no longer necessary to have a contract or even a publishing house. This is, frankly, a double-edged sword: just because you can write a book, doesn’t mean you should write a book. But it also offers a better chance to reach the public for niche publications like this, a short-story collection which falls squarely into our wheelhouse, featuring a wide range of action heroi The rise of self-publishing has provided an opportunity for authors to distribute their product directly to the public – it’s no longer necessary to have a contract or even a publishing house. This is, frankly, a double-edged sword: just because you can write a book, doesn’t mean you should write a book. But it also offers a better chance to reach the public for niche publications like this, a short-story collection which falls squarely into our wheelhouse, featuring a wide range of action heroines [and at least one action villainess]. Some of the ten titles might help to give you a fairly good idea of what to expect: Biker Angel; Cops and Robbers; Sisters, Dark and Light. It has a certain throwback ambiance, feeling at times like you’re reading a collection from the sixties than a modern publication. That’s not a criticism, just an observation, and might be partly because the sexual angles present in some stories are far more hinted at than explicit, and partly because there a square-jawed and certain morality present, largely without shades of grey. Brown has a nicely cinematic tone to his writing – it’s very easy to visualize proceedings in my mind’s eye as they unfolded, and the three entries mentioned above would all have potential as movies. My favorite was probably Sisters, Dark and Light, which pits an FBI agent against a kidnapper whose sadistic streak is frankly disturbing. I also enjoyed the two Capta and the Cop stories, set in the same universe, yet heading in opposite directions. Perhaps my main criticism is a couple of the stories feel in need of expansion, almost like they were trailers more than features, albeit for movies that I’d still want to say. I did notice a few typos, though any regular readers here will know I’m hardly anyone to complain, and the packaging is too bland – it’s the kind of collection that is crying out for a pulp-styled illustration on the front. Otherwise, it certainly comes recommended to action heroine fans. There’s plenty of variety in scenarios, and even the least of the tales is still fun to read. I think the overall attitude of the stories is what makes them work: it’s the author who described them with the quote in the ‘brief’ section of the header. Having read the book, I’d say it’s perhaps a little po-faced (they’re more entertaining than that makes them sound!), but it’s not far from the mark. If you enjoy this site, I think you’ll get a kick out of these tales. Update: August 2010. Thad tells me there is now a new edition, which has all the typos corrected, as well as having page numbers, a table of contents, and even has the messed-up line breaks in the preface fixed. He adds, “I wasn’t able to do a cover with a pulp-style illustration that you said it cried out for; I’d wanted to import Rich’s biker picture that inspired “Biker Angel,” but Lulu’s software just wouldn’t cooperate! I did install a different cover image, a smoking revolver on a russet -sort of dried-blood-colored-background, which I thought was pretty cool.” The review was originally posted on: https://girlswithguns.org/smoking-gun...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    “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 powde “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.” By that I mean 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.” 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) the severed 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 on Wikipedia and here. 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. The 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.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    E.G. Manetti

    I admit it, I downloaded this one because of the title. A short story collection, it reads as if right out of the pulp fiction of the 50s and 60s with straight up battles between the good guys and bad guys. In keeping with that yester-year ethos, descriptions and word choices give the stories a 90s feel. A few of the stories get a bit bogged down in the morality part of the tale, but for the most part they are fun adventure stories with an appropriate happy ending. As the title states, each stor I admit it, I downloaded this one because of the title. A short story collection, it reads as if right out of the pulp fiction of the 50s and 60s with straight up battles between the good guys and bad guys. In keeping with that yester-year ethos, descriptions and word choices give the stories a 90s feel. A few of the stories get a bit bogged down in the morality part of the tale, but for the most part they are fun adventure stories with an appropriate happy ending. As the title states, each story revolves around a female MC comfortable with a gun in her hand. Biker Angel - 4 stars Lone wolf biker saves runaway teenager from the bad guys with an appropriate body count. With guns, knives, and a bike, Kate is a modern Valkyrie. Cops and Robbers 2.5 stars A trio of hard up women decide to knock over a bank only to find they have trespassed on a money laundering operation. Unfortunately, it declines into long sections of exposition and bit of sermonizing that left me skimming sections. The Falcon of Bitmesh - 5-stars Total homage to the Maltese Falcon with Sam Spade replaced by a female version in Sam Mallet. The Capta and the Cop - 5-stars This is the most intriguing of the stories and the most tightly written. It's also the only one without a happy ending. The Capta and the Cop, Part II - 3-stars The Capta and the Cop re-imagined with a happy ending. It gets a bit bogged down in providing the Capta's backstory. Lights Out - 4 stars Another cops versus mafia story, it stars out slow with a lot of description of the characters and surroundings. Once it picks up momentum, it is a fast, violent, satisfying ride. Sisters Light and Dark - 2 stars This stars out strong as battle between a murdering kidnapper and an FBI agent. Unfortunately, it goes overboard in the drawn out ' dark sister's internal monologues that had me rolling my eyes. An afternoon at the Beach - 4-stars Cat and mouse between a hitman and his victim falls, it apart a bit at the end. (view spoiler)[ Way to much conversation and internal monologue between when the first shot is fired and the last (hide spoiler)] 'Tis the Season - 3.5 stars I love a good redemption story and the title pretty much says it all as a hit woman turns over a new leaf. Once again the story weakens in final pages with a bit to much internal monologue and angst. New Day at the Office - 4 stars Downtrodden secretary gets non-violent revenge on her rotten boss. A bit predictable, but satisfying.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    Although, ever since I joined Goodreads, I normally rate and review every book I read ASAP after finishing it, this is one of a few exceptions; I've never rated this book, and don't have a review posted. And I'm not posting one now. However, since most of the exceptions (especially when the author is a Goodreads friend) are books I really didn't like, but didn't want to review negatively, it occurred to me that other readers might assume that to be the case here. So I'm just posting this brief n Although, ever since I joined Goodreads, I normally rate and review every book I read ASAP after finishing it, this is one of a few exceptions; I've never rated this book, and don't have a review posted. And I'm not posting one now. However, since most of the exceptions (especially when the author is a Goodreads friend) are books I really didn't like, but didn't want to review negatively, it occurred to me that other readers might assume that to be the case here. So I'm just posting this brief note to indicate that it isn't. In this instance, there are simply factors that make it difficult and problematical for me to assign a rating or do a review; so I've elected not to. If I did attempt a review, I actually couldn't improve on the one by the author, which is here: www.goodreads.com/review/show/76916728 . (The author's reviews of some of the individual stories in the collection, posted back when they were still being sold by the then-publisher as separate e-stories, are worth reading as well.)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    ** Review of Audio Format ** Girls with Guns I should say women, but girls has a better ring to it. This is a collection of stories, some you can relate to and some that will probably sound pretty fanciful, in which women are the hero’s. The women are packing the heat or have the street and fighting skills to kick bad guy butt and come out alive when the fighting is over. There are multiple really good stories in here that bring out the best in women who are in really hard situations. Some of the h ** Review of Audio Format ** Girls with Guns I should say women, but girls has a better ring to it. This is a collection of stories, some you can relate to and some that will probably sound pretty fanciful, in which women are the hero’s. The women are packing the heat or have the street and fighting skills to kick bad guy butt and come out alive when the fighting is over. There are multiple really good stories in here that bring out the best in women who are in really hard situations. Some of the heroines have the training to take on the evil they encounter while others find the courage when confronted with malevolence. My favorites were the biker mama that goes up against a rival gang to try to save a young girl from gang rape and eventual life as a sex slave, the bank robbers who are really just desperate mom’s at their wits end, the PI who invents a great story to save her PI friend and mentor, the FBI agent called into investigate child kidnapping killers who confronts a woman of such evil she has to decide if she should arrest her or kill her, a story of a young mafia queen told from opposite, but parallel, perspectives (each story has very different endings), a grieving heiress being set up by a guy she just met, and a hit woman who decides enough is enough. Each story gets inside the woman’s head so you understand just how she got to where she is and why she is going to go up against the odds and fight her way out of a lethal situation. There is real life in this listen and situations that happen every day. I’ll be honest, Ainsling Gray wasn’t my favorite narrator for this material. She was very inconsistent in the quality of her voices. Some of her female voices were phenomenal and her accents were pretty good but her narration style left something to be desired and her male voices generally were not the best. In the end, she was just OK for me for this listen. Would I listen to a book she narrated again? Yes, she wasn’t the best I have heard but she definitely wasn’t the worst, either. And, again, some of her voices were very good. I just didn’t care for the tone and cadence she used for the actual narration parts of the book and there is a significant chunk of time spent in this area. I received this audiobook for free through Audiobook Boom! in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    LeAnn

    Never having read anything described as "pulp fiction," I had to look up a definition to match the 10 stories by Thad Brown in The Smoking Gun Sisterhood, which are actually labeled "new pulp." Of course, when I searched online, the Wikipedia entry to the movie "Pulp Fiction" showed up. The image of Uma Thurman on the movie poster, a cigarette in one hand, a gun on the pillow before her, and wearing black stilettos, could grace the cover of Brown's story collection about tough women who pack hea Never having read anything described as "pulp fiction," I had to look up a definition to match the 10 stories by Thad Brown in The Smoking Gun Sisterhood, which are actually labeled "new pulp." Of course, when I searched online, the Wikipedia entry to the movie "Pulp Fiction" showed up. The image of Uma Thurman on the movie poster, a cigarette in one hand, a gun on the pillow before her, and wearing black stilettos, could grace the cover of Brown's story collection about tough women who pack heat. That idiom, "pack heat," 1940s underworld slang for carrying a concealed weapon, perfectly suits the nature and tenor of these 10 stories. Though set in modern-day America, the stories have a decided retro feel. Except for a laptop or desktop computer here and there and a few cell phones, the only ubiquitous technologies are guns and cars. More than that, the protagonists -- ranging from a biker "angel" to a mafia capta to a secretary -- all share a clear code of honor and old-fashioned values that previous generations of readers would find familiar. Add in the nearly universal smoking, the restrained, if graphic, violence, and the clean language, and the overall effect pays homage to the hard-boiled crime novels of the mid-20th century. Of the 10 stories, "Sisters, Dark and Light" stood out for the evil nature of the villain, a female psychopath as nasty as they come, whose exploits, while only touched on, disturb the reader in a way that gun battles don't. My personal favorite is "'Tis the Season," in which a hitwoman named Candace Gunn makes a monumental decision after watching a movie version of Dickens's "A Christmas Carol." Though they all operated under a personal honor code, not all of the heroines made choices I would make. I do however admire the courage, grit, and resolve with which each of them made those decisions.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David

    I met the author here on Goodreads and was drawn to his collection of Girls With Guns stories. As a writer myself who is currently doing a series about a strong woman it was fun to see another author's take on the genre. Brown avoids the stereotype of writing bimbos with sexual proclivities. These are all women who know exactly who they are and what they are about. A subtle nod here or there to sexuality is all you will read which makes the contents suitable for more conservative readers. However I met the author here on Goodreads and was drawn to his collection of Girls With Guns stories. As a writer myself who is currently doing a series about a strong woman it was fun to see another author's take on the genre. Brown avoids the stereotype of writing bimbos with sexual proclivities. These are all women who know exactly who they are and what they are about. A subtle nod here or there to sexuality is all you will read which makes the contents suitable for more conservative readers. However, the violence in a couple of the stories is graphic and chilling so I would only recommend these stories for mature audiences. Descriptions of violent acts are handled properly; I don't feel the scenes are at all gratuitous but I did squirm a time or two. Unlike many indie books this one is well edited (aside from a few too many commas). The stories are easy reads but not simplistic. Brown's stories are sort of a mix of pulp fiction, true crime and mainstream mysteries. I'm a big fan of strong women characters and found the majority of them enjoyable and memorable. One of the great things about his collection is the stories are all notably unique; they are not all about assassins or women being stalked. With each tale you are never sure where the story will take you. Some chapters are stronger than others but none fall flat; you will always want to turn the page to find out how things will end. I gave this book four stars which for me is a very solid recommendation; if I had any reservations about rating it higher it may have been that one or two stories were a little too 'convenient' and that may simply be due to the restrictions in length with a short story. Would definitely like to read more from this author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bran Gustafson

    There’s something old fashioned about the stories in this collection by Thad Brown, and I mean that mostly in a good way. They’re well-written and engaging but not flashy. They feel familiar but are not predictable. In the space of ten stories he covers a variety of genres, from the detective story to the mob story to a bank robbery story to a kidnapping story and more, all of them with one thing in common: they feature women who carry and know how to use guns. Some of the scenes are quite violen There’s something old fashioned about the stories in this collection by Thad Brown, and I mean that mostly in a good way. They’re well-written and engaging but not flashy. They feel familiar but are not predictable. In the space of ten stories he covers a variety of genres, from the detective story to the mob story to a bank robbery story to a kidnapping story and more, all of them with one thing in common: they feature women who carry and know how to use guns. Some of the scenes are quite violent but not gratuitously so. From the first story, it’s quite apparent that Thad Brown is having a good time writing these stories, which makes it easy to enjoy reading them. The one complaint I have is that Thad tended to overstate his themes a bit, especially in the way that the stories ended. He did such a good job setting up the characters, telling the story, bringing things to a climax, but then…the resolution for each of the stories tended to drag on a bit too long for my taste. Once the tension had dissipated and the author took his times wrapping things up and making sure the audience knew what the characters had learned, my eyes began to glaze over and I was ready for the next story. It seems as if the author didn’t quite trust his storytelling abilities and/or didn’t trust the audience to understand what he was getting at, but by dragging the stories on to a completely wrapped up, happy ending, he softened some of the impact of the stories. Other than that, this was a fantastic set of stories and I hope Thad keeps writing more of them!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Krisi Keley

    Review coming soon.

  15. 5 out of 5

    dee

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB

  17. 5 out of 5

    Survivalist81

  18. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cody Toye

  25. 4 out of 5

    Renata

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  27. 4 out of 5

    sissy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

  30. 5 out of 5

    Honour

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie m

  32. 4 out of 5

    Anonymous-9 Anonymous-9

  33. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Patchen

  34. 5 out of 5

    Dominique

  35. 5 out of 5

    Legato Darksummers

  36. 4 out of 5

    مسلمة وكفي

  37. 4 out of 5

    Stefon

  38. 4 out of 5

    Uber Dove

  39. 5 out of 5

    Luna

  40. 4 out of 5

    Molli

  41. 4 out of 5

    ♕ Suƶie ♘

  42. 5 out of 5

    Sally

  43. 4 out of 5

    Merete Aasen

  44. 4 out of 5

    Kiley

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