BooksNaked Men, Handcuffs, and PMS

They’re on the run, but getting away isn’t their primary goal. They’re not prostitutes, but they pick up men of all ages and income brackets. They’re the PMS Outlaws, and they’re teaching a nation full of testosterone-poisoned males about the perils of lechery.

New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb has proven herself once again with her new novel, The PMS Outlaws. Despite its relative lack of conversation, Outlaws never slows down, shifting with lightning speed among the adventures, trials, and tribulations of two buxom bandits, one mental institution, and a stuffed groundhog in a pear tree. Thought-driven instead of dialogue-driven, this novel is equal parts suspense story and internal monologue, creating a rewarding mix of 3-D characters and solid plot.

Randy, a less-than-bright patron of the Lonesome Rose Bar, finds out the hard way that maybe those “sweet thangs” in jean shorts and halter tops really had something else in mind when they snuggled up to him at the bar and whispered enticements in his ear.

“Randy had been thinking that he could star in a skin flick called Horny Zombie in Deep Shock, when those two gorgeous creatures had made it clear that he didn’t have to choose between them. He could have them both. They worked as a team, they said. Well, hot damn.”

Fifteen minutes later, handcuffed to a pipe in the bar’s basement with his wallet and his clothes mysteriously missing, he officially becomes the first victim of the PMS Outlaws’ cross-country rampage.

While Randy knew them only as “Honey” and “Darlin’,” the seductresses are soon identified as P. J. Purdue, an up-and-coming lawyer and Carla Larkin, the prisoner she had been defending, and the chase begins. Across the country, however, in the stately old community of Danville, VA, a different story is unfolding.

Bill MacPherson and A.P. Hill, attorneys at law, need a better building. Bill’s stuffed groundhog (adorned with judge’s robes for a extra touch of elegance) fits in well enough with the dusty (plastic potted) plant and the antique (surplus sale) office furniture, but A. P. Hill has the impression that it may be limiting their clientele. While Bill doesn’t quite see her point, he dutifully acquires a more imposing base for their operations. In other words, he buys a mansion.

It’s bad enough that said mansion is desperately in need of renovation, but the house already has a tenant: Mr. Jack Dolan, a sweet old geezer who’s no doubt finished sowing his wild oats years ago. Yep, no danger here…just a 90-something-year-old man who likes Pepsi and Twinkies. And sugar. Lots and lots of sugar.

Add to that the belligerent rants and ramblings of Cherry Hill Psychiatric Hospital’s slightly-unbalanced curmudgeons, one of whom announces that “Anorexia is not a disease; it’s a career move,” and you’ve got the makings of one hell of a twisted novel. You may like these people, and you may be offended by them, but you’ll have to agree with them that “being crazy is so damned liberating.”

If you’re looking for an easy-to-read, fast-paced novel filled with real people and constant surprises, The PMS Outlaws is just what you need. Curl up somewhere, get comfortable, and prepare to put the world on hold, because this is one book you won’t be able to put down.