Please welcome Robb T. White, the author of My Dangerous Women: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly. Why did you write this story?
I can say it was a dozen inspirations rather than a single one because each story in the collection was its own inspiration at some point in my writing past—that is, all the stories either depend on a woman’s narrative point of view or demand the woman be the antagonist—meaning here, be the criminal, the killer, the betrayer, or the deceiver who must scheme her way to some goal, a bad one naturally and one that often results in some husband, boyfriend, or other winding up in jail, on trial, incapacitated, or deader than Julius Caesar by the end of the tale. Frankly, all my crime stories, regardless of male or female characters, fall into two possibilities: somebody is betraying somebody or someone is getting revenge on someone. I didn’t write Dangerous Women so much as put together what I had already done. I had the pleasant task of choosing those stories that emphasized women in the roles of betrayer or betrayed—without having to do anything other than choose the order of presentation. I should add, the good fortune to secure the approval of Anita York of Class Act Books. To get at the “why write about them” part, I think dividing these women into three categories will best answer the question.
Here is the first class, which I’m calling “The Good”: Regina Frontanetta, a prizefighter and gutsy private eye; Sandy Biggers, a reformed crack whore and thief (my sole saint in the collection); Natalie Sparks, a resilient 17-year-old runaway and paint huffer. Although their “goodness” is relative to their stories, these female characters all do things that transcend their flaws (I think) or redeem them, which makes them interesting as people. My second class of women is “The Bad,” and the worst of this group, for me, is Francie of “Criss-Cross, Double-Cross” for she’s not only a spoiled girl who wants the narrator to kill her parents but she’s pure malevolence; two “trophy wives” make the list—namely, one in “Blackmail Is My Business” and the other in “Her Ticket to Heaven,” both for sheer cunning and duplicitous contempt for their husbands, albeit deserved. Martina Brulet from “A Pack of Lies” is another who aspires to be here for the simple reason (s)he doesn’t have to engage in attempted murder for self-preservation because she’s already achieved her goal. Perhaps the least “ugly” of the pack are the twins Bella and Donna in “The Birthmark” and then because nobody dies from their clever machinations with the gullible narrator.
The “best” of “The Ugly” category includes a couple more wives—first, Bobbie, the lap dancer from “My Gypsy Girl from Bluefield” because she plays her loving husband like a fiddle from the git-go and “Diana” from her named story for a similar reason. The latter character, by the way, was inspired by a true-crime show in which the wife plotted to murder her husband long in advance by getting herself into tip-top physical condition so that she could lift his dead weight right after committing the murder. One I can’t fit into any category above is Dawn from “Dawn Hunting,” although she’s a spree killer unlike the solo murderers of the other stories. That’s because I like her reason for the mayhem inflicted in her story on her cheating hubby and his smug pals. In sum, I like women, fictionally speaking, who can dish it out as well as men. Maybe that’s a throwback to my horror-film-watching youth in which every female victim in every movie I ever saw always tripped when the bad guy was chasing her. I wanted to write about women who can run with wolves and not trip.
About the Author:
Under the names Terry White, Robert White, and Robb T. White, Robert White is the author of numerous short stories and hardboiled detective novels. A lifelong reader of crime fiction, he published his first story in Gary Lovisi’s Hardboiled magazine. Since then, he has published several dozen crime stories, and a collection of mainstre
am stories in 2013. An ebook crime novel, won the New Rivers Electronic Book Competition in 2014. His collection of crime stories featuring woman narrators and female characters is Dangerous Women: Stories of Crime, Mystery, and Mayhem, published by Class Act Books in 2017.
White was born, raised, and continues to live in Ashtabula, Ohio.
More about Robb at:
Weaker sex? Not hardly!
The female is definitely deadlier than the mail. Short stories about ladies who can hold their own.
Be careful what you wish for, Regina.
Her mother’s words. Sometimes she could hear her mother’s voice in the house.
The Vindicator piece on Bodycomb’s death was two paragraphs.
He was found floating in Lake Milton, a popular summer resort area for fisherman seventeen miles east of Austintown just off the Interstate 80 overpass. Shot by a small-caliber weapon in the back of the head. The important information was in the second paragraph: Bodycomb, it noted, was running a dog-fighting network among three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia for a loose-knit West Virginia crime family connected to the Pittsburgh LaRizzo family.
Damn you, Leo.
She was blowing through caution lights, ignoring the honking of cars, as she beelined for the office on Market.
Like a script from a cheap thriller, he was there, wearing the same clothes and unshaven, big jowls dark with stubble, pong of body odor in the overheated single room.
“You promised me full disclosure, total honesty,” she said.
She threw the paper across his desk.
“Here it is in case you missed it.”
Be calm, Regina, she told herself. She wasn’t going to lose her temper and a new job in that order.
“I did and I meant it, Baby,” Leo said.
He glanced at the paper sideways and pushed it back to her. He’d obviously read it.
“You asked me—no, you demanded I call somebody. I did,” he said.
He disgusted her with those wagging jowls and big stomach. She noticed his belt was undone and a patch of curly belly hair exposed.
Probably jerking off in here, the freak.
“I suppose you’ll tell me when the mood strikes.”
“I meant the second case—your next case,” Leo said. “Full disclosure, just like you want.”
Her indignation petered out at the prospect. “So tell me about it,” she said.
Bodycomb was moving in on Donnie Bracca’s territory with his dog-fighting, Leo said.
“He can kill all the dogs he wants in West Virginia,” Leo said. “But Donnie B. controls gambling around here.”
“Donnie Bracca was your real client all the time,” Baby said.
“It’s like this, kid. They don’t blow each other up in cars no more. Gentlemen’s agreements, all nice and polite. But rules have to be followed. Bodycomb went rogue.”
She bit back a retort: You mean, like your own father?
Leo went on, waxing large, a hopeless Mafioso lover, although a real mafia man, a made man, could see Leo couldn’t be trusted. But even the Aryan Brotherhood used outside associates to get things done. Leo could be useful if you couldn’t buy a cop or scare off an investigative reporter snooping in shady politics or business deals.
She didn’t feel bad about Bodycomb’s death. After all, she’d wanted to kill the guy herself.
“Damn it, Leo,” she said. “You should have told me this in the beginning.”Baby moved in the direction Bodycomb’s vehicle had taken. After A couple of hundred yards through meadow grass up to her knees, she stopped and listened. Moving on, she dodged stunted bushes that popped up out of nowhere to snag her clothing. The foliage grew less dense. She found the parallel ruts of the Road Runner’s tracks and kept moving, straining her eyes to see light ahead. If Bodycomb was hiding assets from his soon-to-be ex-wife, he was taking a lot of trouble over it.
After five minutes of faster walking in the grooves, she heard barking coming from the right. She saw the first glimmer of light in the distance. The terrain was sparse but small slopes refracted the light source so it appeared and disappeared with every rise of the ground. A single dog barking became two, then three and finally a pack. Beneath their howls, men’s voices.
When she got close enough to make out words, she lay flat on her belly and put the binoculars on a cluster of men beside a ramshackle barn surrounded by cages of dogs in the beds of trucks beside a squared string of light bulbs a dozen feet from the ground. It looked like a crude boxing ring for backyard brawlers.
Its purpose became clear in the next few minutes. It was a dog-fighting pit.
Publisher’s website (for paperback): http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/cat-murder-mystery-suspense/dangerous-women-8472017-10-14-23-36-05-detail?Itemid=0