Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Tara Janzen | Book series and automotive infatuation.

November 1, 2007

One of the questions I’ve been getting asked a lot lately is if my new book, ON THE LOOSE, is still part of the CRAZY series, and the answer is Yes! All of the same characters from Steele Street and SDF, Special Defense Force, are in the LOOSE series of books. We’re still at the chop shop in Denver, dear readers! Much to my surprise, while tramping through the wilds of El Salvador with C. Smith Rydell and Honey York in ON THE LOOSE, I came across another lost chop-shop boy from Steele Street, and his story is told in CUTTING LOOSE, which comes out in January.

So many people who have read the books have fallen in love with the cars, all those beautiful American muscle cars from the sixties and seventies, the ones with engines so big the insurance companies balked at underwriting them. In one instance, they did more than balk. By refusing to insure the cars, they actually shut down production on Don Yenko’s 1969 Chevy Yenko “SYC 427” Novas. Yenko converted thirty stock SS-396 Novas into the barely street legal monsters, before the insurance companies got cold feet. Marrying that much power to something as relatively small and light as a Chevy Nova made a car that even Yenko considered “a beast, almost lethal.” Which, of course, is why I had to have one in the books! She’s named “Mercy,” because she has none, and of course, she’s raced by a girl who blows the tires off everything that goes up against her.

The first car in the books is Jeanette the Jet, a 1969 Camaro with a 383 LT1 stroker under the hood – my dream car. Or so I thought until I met Angelina, a 1970 Chevelle SS 454, Black Cherry with black racing stripes. And then came Coralie, a 1967 Pontiac GTO, Signet Gold with a 360-horse Ram Air 400. She stole my heart – up until I met Charlotte the Harlot, a 1968 Shelby Mustang CJ428, Candyapple Red with white stripes.

So what do you think? What’s the toughest, coolest car to ever come out of Detroit? Or does your favorite rubber-souled machine come from someplace else? If so, let me know. Right now, I’m spending my days dreaming of another 1970 Chevelle SS 454, the rare and wondrous LS6. Can anybody beat that for sheer heart-pounding, automotive infatuation?

Tara Jenzen

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