A smart, sexy repo-lady battles Russian hoods, a nasty hit-girl, and her dysfunctional family’s uncertain past in what should be the first in a bang-up series.
Meg Gardner grew up on the right side of the tracks in Missoula, Montana, until her mother shot her lawyer father for having one-too-many affairs with Indians whose legal matters he’d been representing. After a few years of living on the lam—including a stretch in a New Mexico prison for stabbing a former boyfriend—Meg, just shy of her 30th birthday, is back in town, trying to live straight by snatching vehicles from deadbeats who are too deep in debt to GMAC. Meg barely flinches as the stabbed and frozen corpse of one of those deadbeats, tourist excursion pilot Clay Bennett, is fished out of a river as she drives away with Bennett’s Jeep Cherokee. Two Indians have been arrested for the crime, one a young girl named Red Deer, who Meg fears may have be one of her father’s illegitimate children. After a warm night with her Czech boyfriend Kristof, Meg is wondering about the contents of a briefcase Bennett left in the Jeep when Russian mobster Ivan Popov smacks her around and makes off with it. Before Meg’s bruises heal, she’s threatened by a knife-wielding woman in a leather jacket who demands a map that Bennett had hidden somewhere. Meg investigates and discovers that way back in the 1950s Bennett went down in a plane crash somewhere in the Montana mountains. He walked away from it alive but has been searching obsessively for the remains of the aircraft ever since. Along the way, Meg calls on her brain-damaged father, visits several trailer park weirdos from her past, and resolves to hold her own in the wild, lonely, treacherously broken world her parents’ generation has made.
Tightly plotted, thoroughly enjoyable, angst-filled: a tough-gal follow-up to Siler’s excellent Easy Money (1999).