A Clever Nod to the Best Pulp Tradition

MISS STAKE
AVeronica Benoit Short
Terra Stellar Press
69 Pages
ISBN:1514159842

Veronica “Ronnie” Benoit is a self-described “testament” to her family’s “tenacity,” but the Louisiana teenager has no idea that she is a linchpin in its legacy.That, briefly, is the plot in the first entry in CG Powell‘s MISS short-fiction series. The Virginia author breathes the Louisiana Bayou onto the page in this work as if she were a native. At the least, she has probably been there because her bio boasts that she has “traveled everywhere – thanks to her innate curiosity about the world and the Navy.”

 In style, Miss Stake: A Veronica Benoit Short is a clever nod to the days before television when imagination reigned, and adventure junkies got their fixes through radio serials such as The Shadow, or paperback books sized to stick into the back pocket on a pair of jeans. Those penetrating adventure and thriller stories popular from the 1930s to the Sixties were woven around the plight of characters as familiar as the curiously odd person next door, up the block, or down the street. That is how pulp novels and story collections gained credibility as page turners, or pot boilers.

The brief story is set in the swamps with more than enough references to all things New Orleans. The first chapter is a little slow, but readers will be seduced to read more because “Ronnie” Benoit and the other characters are obviously headed for something not good. The opening leads the reader to believe that the 17-year-old heroine’s biggest worry is how to maintain her virtue against the sometimes not very polite hits from a trio of ordinary outback romeos. The fact that most of what the reader thinks the tale is about is way off from the truth is a tribute to Powell’s gift for storytellng. By the middle of this paranormal saga, Veronica discovers that her reality is a very carefully constructed charade. In the best tradition of Louisiana stories,”Ronnie” is tumbled into a world for which she is far under-prepared as her grandfather reveals the family’s most tightly held secret.

The only downside to the work in style and story is that the tale ends about the time the adventure shifts to a new level of intrigue in the story. It’s what we hate most about serials. We have to read more. E-books are available FREE OF COST through the author siteAmazon Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
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