After the loss of their parents to a home invasion, Maya becomes responsible for her younger sister, Magdalena. She makes ends meet and ensures her sister is on the path to academic success by becoming a stripper, putting all of her own aspirations on hold.
But Maya has another problem to worry about. She and her sister come from a bloodline of Jaguar shifters from Mexico, and the San Antonio Ripper is stalking the streets looking for a very specific type of blood.
Hairspray and Switchblades was a really exciting, fast-paced, sexy read, with some creepy, gory moments and badass woman characters, and I really enjoyed it.
There are no damsels in distress in this story. They take care of their own, and yes, there is a male love interest, but he’s just that. He’s not there to swoop in and save Magda and Magdalena. The theme of sisterhood throughout, whether blood-related or not, was something else I really loved about this book. Women lifting each other up and having each other’s backs, ready to take on the big bad together.
I’ve read a few short stories, and now this novella, by V. Castro and I love the way she writes women. They are unapologetically women- periods and all! I really appreciate that she doesn’t shy away from the things women are “not supposed to be or talk about”. Women want and have sex, women have imperfections (doesn’t every human?). We age, menstruate, and sometimes we have saggy boobs. It’s refreshing to see women that are just like me and the other beautiful women I know and love.
The creepy, gory parts in the book were excellently written too. The antagonist was, in my opinion, terrifying. I wouldn’t want to meet her down a dark alley. In such a short book, I was pleasantly surprised at how developed the antagonist was. We got a lot of backstory on her and she’s a very compelling, creepy character.
I also thought the ending was excellent. It’s given me a little bit of hope that we may see more of these sexy, badass shifter women in a longer work sometime in the future.
Overall, I really enjoyed Hairspray and Switchblades, and I’m a big fan of V. Castro’s erotic, woman-centric style of horror mixed with Mexican-American folklore and culture. It’s a breath of fresh air in a very white male-dominated genre and I will continue to devour her books.