Fiction: “Girl Waits With Gun” by Amy Stewart

girl waits with gunLAST BOOK OF 2018 I FUCKING DID IT

I won’t post the recap before October 1, so I *continue* to get Worse At This every year, but you know what? I HAVE HOPE THAT SOMETHING WILL CHANGE

(Namely, the fact that I am gonna post all my in-progress drafts and notes and possibly done drafts that I have on my laptop into the WordPress App because I have a Fire Tablet that I’m taking to a conference next week [as I’m writing this review] and my goal is to post a review a night because BASEBALL’S DEAD TO ME THIS YEAR, FOLKS and I’ll be on a plane for The Good Place and home by the time Dynasty kicks in for season three and basically, WHAT AM I, BUSY? NO, I AM NOT)

[Note From the Future: I did not meet those expectations at all. I did okay. I wrote one post and saved it, and started another. But at the end of the conference days I was exhausted (and missing my cat, but that’s another story) and basically I binge-watched Big Mouth until I fall asleep every night.]

So anyway.

The worst part about all this? Is that I swear I had jotted down notes for this book back in January, and I could have sworn I had at least four hundred words? Some quotes, even, maybe? But I must have shut the laptop down or some update ran and then I didn’t save the right file because when I opened my Word doc up, this was all I had –

girl waits notes

Thanks, Alaina. Good job.

Okay. So. Here’s what I remember.

Girl Waits With Gun is the story of the first female deputy sheriff (allegedly), Constance Kopp. Constance lives with her sisters, Norma and Fleurette, on a farm in New Jersey in 1914, maybe? Before WWI? Let’s say before WWI. (Goodreads says 1914 so yay me!) One day all three of them are in their cart and/or wagon going into town and Fleurette is driving, when a big ol’ motorcar comes barreling down and runs right into them. No one gets hurt (although Fleurette, the youngest, definitely swans about the house for a while after), and Constance tries to collect $50 from the motorist to repair their wagon.

Except that the motorist happens to be a nasty mobster who runs a shirtwaist factory (maybe? some sort of twill type fabric) and he assumes that ignoring Ms. Kopp will make her go away. But Constance Kopp is not one to back down from a fight. And her tenacity leads to the mobster threatening the Kopp sisters’ livelihood – arson, abduction of Fleurette, you name it.

Norma wants nothing to do with this whole mess – all she wants to do is train her carrier pigeons. (The entire Kopp family is eccentric.) Fleurette, as I said, is eating up the attention. But Constance is trying to figure out how to get the money they’re owed, and so she starts bugging the sheriff’s department.

I cannot remember the name of the sheriff that Constance befriends, and apparently he wasn’t worthy of any of the Goodreads reviewers to name. But this sheriff is the only person who encourages Constance – he knows there’s something shady with the fabric mobster, but needs more evidence to put him away. It also doesn’t help that the fabric mobster provides jobs to some of the working poor in this town – not great jobs, but a chance to earn maybe one coin. (He’s a shitheel, but the politics of shutting down a factory because the boss is a shitheel were bad in those days, apparently.)

The sheriff and Constance work together and are finally able to bring the fabric mobster to justice, though it took a while. And the title comes from the night where Constance waited at a street corner (surrounded by sheriffs and deputies) with a gun in her pocket, hoping to get a message passed to the fabric mobster.

Here’s the thing with the sheriff and Constance – I thought there was going to be more romance there. The way their friendship was written, I felt like there were stolen glances, and kind wrist touches, and that a relationship was going to be teased out over the course of the next couple of books. Turns out that’s not the case – these characters are based on real-life people, and Constance did not end up with the sheriff. In this book, at least, the sheriff is married, and people didn’t divorce people willy-nilly back then. So it probably remains platonic, and while I am okay with that (not every male-female relationship has to lead to romance, Alaina), I am a little disappointed.

Oh well.

I liked the book (in spite of the lack of romances). Constance is a great character – very witty, very matter-of-fact, very determined. I will probably continue reading the series.

And next time, I will try to take better notes.

Grade for Girl Waits With Gun: 3 stars

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