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Speed Queen Paperback – September 2, 2001
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It's evident why a horror writer might be interested in Marjorie's story--the details of her life are pretty darned horrifying. A deep love of cars is what attracts Marjorie to her husband, Lamont, in the first place; an unplanned pregnancy is what pushes them into marriage. In the early days of their love affair, driving around in Lamont's convertible with the baby in the back and doing a little speed on the side is enough, but possession leads to prison time for Marjorie. There she meets Natalie, who will complete their deadly triangle. Once on the outside, Natalie, Marjorie, and Lamont start mainlining speed, then dealing it, and before long, a landscape of drive-thru restaurants and convenience stores becomes the backdrop for a series of gruesome murders. Marjorie may not be the most reliable narrator, but she is an original one, and The Speed Queen provides one heck of a joy ride. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Marjorie bluntly reveals the most intimate secrets of her love triangle, -between her, her girlfriend Natalie and her husband Lamont-, gives deep insight in what it is to be to be married to a car loving drug dealer, having a baby and living a life on speed.
The author's unique style of writing is a hallmark of this novel: song names, movies, books, drugs, local drive-thru restaurants and their menues - when reading this story the reader comes across numerous proper names, most of them only Stephen King fans, local citizens, junkies and car addicts have heard of. However, this does not affect the story negatively. The every-day language matches the story perfectly, yet it does not get too coloquial and after a few pages one quickly gets familiar with O'Nan's style and is introduced to the realistic world of Marjorie that is exciting, beautiful, strange and brutal at the same time.
I am a total fan of Stewart O'Nan. If you haven't read him, do. He writes like no one can and writes well. He tells tales out of school in a dark, quirky, funny, sad, most believeable way. He makes you remember his books forever.
We meet Marjorie Standiford who is going to meet her Maker. She is on Death Row in an Oklahoma prison. She is one of the three 'Sonic Killers' and is telling her life story to none other than Stephen King. It is mere hours before her execution. She always, to the end of the book, maintains she is innocent. Is she? Will she receive yet another stay of execution? Is her story true?
Marjorie tells the tale of her childhood, meeting her husband, Lamont, having a child, and meeting her lover, Natalie. All her memories are excellent and full of details, jumping back and forth between past and present, full of suspense and constantly making the reader wonder if she is, in fact, innocent of these horrible murders.
Marjorie is involved in drinking, drugs, and after meeting and marrying Lamont, they get deeply involved in drugs and dealing. They live for cars, drugs, and rock and roll. When they meet up with Natalie things go bad quickly for all of them.
This is a good book. It is not for everyone, it left me feeling squeamish at times. The book reads well and doesn't disappoint. While constantly wondering about Marjorie being innocent of horrid murders, I could not help but like her and root for her. However, at the same time, she is someone scary and unstable enough that you certainly wouldn't want to be involved with her. O'Nan creates such vivid characters who, good or bad or just plain wicked, you cannot help liking.
Highly recommend this book, although it's not for everyone due to the content and situations.
If you want to read this, you'd better clear a good-sized chunk of time, because this is one of those rare books you'll want to read in one sitting. Narrator Marjorie Standiford, a convicted murderer spending her last night on Death Row, is a piece of work, and a character that will hang around in your consciousness for some time. And it's not a 'spoiler' when I tell you she is dictating - and dedicating - her story to her favorite writer: "For my dear Stephen King." I'm not a King fan myself, but I have a feeling that Marjorie's natural, unfiltered voice has got to be scarier than anything King ever invented.
Drugs, kinky sex, robbery, murder, fast cars - you name it; all that stuff is in here. You will be reminded of In Cold Blood, Thelma & Louise, Badlands, and there's maybe even a tiny taste of Tony Hillerman in there. Stewart O'Nan is a writer with an unparalleled and powerful imagination, but he does his groundwork too, and the result, this time, is THE SPEED QUEEN. This is a book that will grab you by the scruff of the neck early on and thrust you forward into one of the most unbelievably ugly, sad and fascinating reads in contemporary noir fiction since Jim Thompson. If you like that kind of stuff, I recommend this book highly.
- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting novel. I would have given it five stars if the author had gone a bit deeper into the psychological aspects of the main characters.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Stewart O'Nan is an amazing writer. This book is like nothing I've read before. It would make a great movie. Read morePublished on May 6, 2013 by Kindle Customer
I titled this review "quietly shocking" because that's how this character study hit me. The lead character speaks about herself and her history, and her crimes in a matter of fact... Read morePublished on November 27, 2009 by expert
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Read more
I've read a couple of outstanding novels by O'Nan ("The Night Country," "Prayer for Dying"), so I was sort of looking forward to this one. Sort of? Read morePublished on November 11, 2007 by S. Harris
I really liked this book. The beginning I was a little confused on where it was going but once you got over that it got really good and intense. Quick read too.Published on June 1, 2007 by A. Katz
This novel by Stewart O'Nan probably can fit under the category `brutalism' or more appropriately, brutes. Read morePublished on October 15, 2006 by Scott A. Jones
My first take on this book is that it's pretty light, has some great Americana stuff, but doesn't seem to say much. Read morePublished on November 23, 2005 by Daniel Holland
Having read O'Nan's other works including Prayer for the Dying, I was anxious to read this one. Being a fan of true crime, I was drawn to this book by the plot. Read morePublished on November 22, 2004 by JMack