cover image The Big Tow: An Unlikely Romance

The Big Tow: An Unlikely Romance

Ann McMan. Bywater, $17.95 trade paper (344p) ISBN 978-1-61294-184-4

Repo romance might not be a genre, but two-time Lambda Literary Award–winner McMan (Galileo) makes a case that it should be with this delicious and hilarious fever-dream of a novel. When Vera “Nick” Nicholson, a struggling, 37-year-old junior legal associate, is dispatched to retrieve a luxury car stolen from one of her firm’s clients, her search launches her into the world of the National Recovery Bureau. Among the bureau’s outrageous assortment of grifters is Frankie Stohler, a Jennifer Aniston look-alike who can get away with just about anything in a blink of her innocent baby blues. Lured by helpless lust and the promise of a larger pay day, Nick partners with Frankie on a rapidly escalating series of improbable heists, including “recovering” a school bus from a Baptist church and a hearse from a shady funeral home. Though she’s afraid of being hurt, Nick can’t deny that being with Frankie feels like “an astronaut’s first bout of weightlessness.” McMan creates a lovable cast comprising crooks with hearts of gold and endearing oddballs, including Nick’s wonderfully campy roommate and Frankie’s goth mortician sister. It’s lighthearted fare that relishes in its own ridiculousness, but McMan grounds the more outlandish flights of fancy in honesty and warmth. Readers are sure to be taken in by the quirky charms of this lesbian love story. (Oct.)