Kissing Asphalt

Reading the stories in this book, in a roundabout way, led me to Spotify, and in an even more roundabout way made me rediscover one of my favorite bands from that period: The Cars. It also enabled me to rediscover how blissfully amazing the Cars’ eponymous first album, The Cars, was.
And the way “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” leads right into “Bye Bye Love” so seamlessly! Classic. 
I’ve also been listening to Candy-O, and this weekend I’m going to start listening to Heartbeat City, to see how well it holds up.
And the next song/story covered in Murder-a-Go-Go’s is “Kissing Asphalt” by Dharma Kelleher.
Sitting in the back seat of the Lexus SUV, I racked the slide on my Ruger 9mm, secured the Rossi snub-nosed revolver in my ankle holster, and adjusted the Velcro straps on my Kevlar vest. I tried to convince myself I was ready for action. But I wasn’t.
My body was sore and heavy with fatigue from an all-night session of much-needed sex. Meanwhile, my mind bobbed like a balloon with the giddiness of newfound love. A tiny voice in the back of my brain warned me to get my shit together and quite acting like a twelve-year-old girl with her first crush.
It didn’t work. As I stared out the window at Phoenix’s urban desert whizzing past, a highlights reel of the night before played in my mind, with the Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” as the soundtrack.
“Oy! Earth to Jinx Ballou! Are ya with us?” My boss, Conor Doyle, glared at me from the front passenger seat.
Deez, Conor’s second-in-command, chuckled from behind the wheel, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say our girl got some last night.”
“Shut the hell up, Deez,” I playfully punched the back of his seat.
Murph, the guy sitting to my right, screwed up his face. “All the times I ask you out and now you’re fucking some other guy?”
This is my first time reading something by Dharma Kelleher, and it won’t be the last. This tale–about bounty hunters tracking down a bail-jumper–turns what could easily be a tired old same-old same-old story into something fresh and new; which is just another example of showing how diversity, and diverse writers, can breathe new life into a genre that is in danger of becoming tired and stock. Kelleher’s characterizations and voice are fresh and new, the action comes fast and furious, and the personal story interwoven into the case work never feels forced or contrived. I do invite you all to check out some of Kelleher’s work; this story features her series character, Jinx Ballou, and is an excellent teaser for her series.
Get on it, people.

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