Review of The Selena Trilogy by Greg Barth
THE SELENA TRILOGY by Greg Barth
All Due Respect Books 2015
Book 1 SELENA
Book 2 DIESEL THERAPY
Book 3 SUICIDE LOUNGE
I got this package in the mail.
It was heavy, dense
I knew this was going to be something different purely by feel. I tear it open and these 3 books fall out. The covers are all red and feature variations of the same punk rock looking girl, 1st with a shotgun, 2nd in handcuffs, and the 3rd wielding a Tanto blade. Her make up is running and she does not look like a pleasant young lady.
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Selena.
Selena is in her 20s, a full time stripper, a part time hooker, and a full time addict. You already know before you even start the 1st book that Selena has been through the wringer.
Ohhhh, before I go any further, I had the privilege of reading all 3 books right in a row. Which I am very happy for because I didn’t have to deal with one book at a time dropping you from intensity. Reading all 3 in a row is like taking a straight jab followed a left hook and being finished with a right uppercut. One thing that became clear at the end is that author Greg Barth and Selena are the spiritual southern cousins to Charlie Huston and his Hank Thompson trilogy.
In the first book, Selena wakes up from a one night stand in bed with a guy whose name she cannot remember. After pulling her shit together and while on her way out the door, a casual act of petty theft sets the whole tale in motion. While at work at the strip club that night, she is severely beaten and raped. After she gets out of the hospital, she starts going for revenge. This includes going home to a father she left on unpleasant terms years before and learning the art of the sawed off shotgun. This was cool. Sawed off double barrel shotguns are old school. This whole sequence reminds you of parts Lady Snowblood, The Bride from Kill Bill, and the girl from Thriller-They Call Her One Eye but does not for a second feel like any kind of retread. It actually helps set up a major story arc of the second book.
As I hit the second book, I emailed Greg Barth to ask him if they were all written at once and he said, “Yes, they were – in 2015.” The continuity is truly on point. There are no hesitation marks and defensive wounds in Barth’s writing. Feel me? Ok, good.
In second book, entitled DIESEL THERAPY, finds Selena doing time in federal prison. She is caught between opposing forces and she is not clear on the motivating factors on either side. All that is clear is she has to get out to get down with the rest of her revenge.
One of the most original things about this series is the use of actual Diesel Therapy. I thought that was fucking brilliant. For the uninitiated, Diesel Therapy is when the US Federal Prison system is rather vexed by an individual. So, to make that individual more pliable, the individual is shackled and transported around the country for weeks at a time, non stop, via van, bus and plane. The individual may get to crash for a couple hours at most at a stop in a county jail in between legs of the trip. Showers, maybe. Taking a piss or shit, oh yeah, but most likely in your pants. And pretty much constant sensory deprivation with nothing but the fumes of diesel fuel to breath. Yeah, it’s like that. But our heroine is a resilient lass and gets herself out to finish up her revenge.
The 3rd book, SUICIDE LOUNGE, finds Selena as the head of a rural crime syndicate. Her addictions have intensified and the wolves are at the door of her empire in the form of a villain unlike anything she has encountered before. In order to save her own life, Selena has to fight and kill and find some bit of redemption. After the first 2 books, you get a sense that, like that wise man said, no one here gets out alive.
The main villain has a trait that I found unique and made the character original and stand out from other crime novel bad guys. No, I’m not telling you what it is but you’ll spot it when you read it.
See the quote with the author photo??? I fucking love that quote. I absolutely hate when the hero or anti-hero if you will, only sustains little to minimal physical damage. Humans are not superheroes except maybe in spirit and even then with human nature it’s debatable. Selena herself could be a definition of human nature run amok. That is real. It breathes and bleeds, feels pleasure and pain, the kind of human nature that roars with unchecked emotion. I love the character of Selena. Greg Barth created something unique and original
I warned you, these books are by no means for everyone. The story has brutality in it’s DNA. Some of you, I call tell you right now, your delicate sensibilities will be battered and bruised and offended. The rest of you, get after these books.