Driving Alone by Kevin Lynn Helmick

Driving Alone by Kevin Lynn Helmick“Demons. Yep, they always come when yer drivin alone.” – Feather Dane

Though he doesn’t literally have “Born to Lose” tattooed on himself, Billy Keyhoe would seem to have been given the karmic equivalent of the mark. Twenty-nine years old, his life has been most notable for its failure to launch. The only thing he’s proven himself any good at is smoking, drinking, and beating on his girlfriend.

Even he’s bright enough, however, to realize he’s hit a new low when in a fit of jealous rage he delivers a particularly savage beating one night, so he grabs a few things and hits the road in his beater of a ’66 Caddy. His intention is to put Waycross, Georgia in the rearview and start over somewhere in West Texas.

When he spontaneously decides to rob Earl’s 66 during a stop for gas on the way out of town, that goes about as well as the rest of his life, netting him a whopping $29 and a pissed-off clerk unloading her shotgun at him for his efforts.

Things seem to take a turn for the better when Billy picks up a beautiful hitchhiker named Feather. He realizes it’s kind of odd she was just standing at a crossroads in the middle of nowhere, but Billy has no idea how truly odd things are going to get before their journey is over.

Author Kevin Lynn Helmick packs more into the hard-hitting 91 pages of Driving Alone than many writers manage in works several times as long. As the story unfolds, it quickly becomes clear to the reader that there’s more to Feather than meets the eye–she’s not just a pretty face and a “Jesus Slave” belt buckle. It takes Billy a little longer to catch on, but he slowly comes to understand that Feather can help him make sense of his life, but that in order to have any hope of moving forward he must first go back and revisit how it is he got to this point–how he became the person he is.

Along the way, Helmick plays with both Billy and the reader’s minds, causing both to question what exactly is happening between Billy and Feather as they verbally and physically spar with one another. Billy’s crude, blunt personality seems to have met a match of sorts in Feather’s (somewhat) more refined and circumspect one, and it’s a wonderful juxtaposition which Helmick deftly explores. His decision to present the dialog with a distinctive cadence which incorporates a rural slang only adds to the gritty, undeniably Southern feel of the story.

Driving Alone is a magical mix of crime fiction, romance, and Southern Gothic, and I highly recommend you join Billy on his enlightening journey of self-discovery…where it ends may surprise you.

Driving Alone is available from Blank Slate Press (ISBN: 978-0982880692).

Kevin Lynn Helmick, born 1963, Fort Madison IA, is the author of The Lost Creek Journal, selective poems and flash fiction, Clovis Point, a rural noir thriller, Sebastian Cross, a literary adventure novel, Heartland Gothic, a literary black comedy, and Driving Alone, a dark southern gothic romance novella. Growing up seven years younger than the youngest of four brothers, his views of the world were largely shaped by 60′s and 70′s pop culture, by Elvis Presley, James Bond, Andy Warhol, comic books and of course the music of The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Doors. Kevin has had several short stories published including “Allison,” in Manarchy Magazine, “My Muse Plays Hard to Get” in Pulp Metal Magazine, and ”No 7 Valentine” in Noir at the Bar II. Kevin keeps a blog with other short stories, commentaries and guest writers at The Write Room Cafe.

Be sure to visit all of Kevin Lynn Helmick’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS

Driving Alone by Kevin Lynn Helmick


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