The Love Killers Ain't Shortstopping Either

Some of you might be wondering why the hell am I reviewing Lovehead by the late great Jackie Collins (Muvah Collins to you squares that don’t know her pioneering contributions to literature), since she’s like uber famous and surely even her ghost doesn’t need my fucking two cents on her shit. Here’s the thing, when she wrote Lovehead, she wasn’t big time. In fact it is one of her earlier books and was released on a small imprint W.H. Allen (who has since been swallowed up in the shit burger of Penguin Random Schuster). It’s also Muvah Collins’ first soiree into mob crime fiction, which as we all know she went hammy commercial with in the Santangelo series.

This is a Jackie Collins book I missed coming up in my teens, that I only discovered at age 40.  At some point in its life it was renamed/rebranded as The Love Killers, but I was able to cop an OG copy and well, it was damn good, and honestly, even better than that. Now for all you readers out there that know Muvah Collins as the queen of sex and raunch, this book ain’t it. In fact I will fucking tell you right now this is as close to indie crime fiction fest in the belly of the grime and urban noir side of things that she ever nosedived into, and a hell of a lot more realistic than the cheezy soap opera style commercial crime Italian mob fiction of the Santangelo series. This is more of a novella than a novel, just a bit bigger than The Bitch or The Stud, but nowhere as epically meaty as Chances.

Now let’s just jump the fuck on in and see what Muvah Collins’ book is all about.

The book cover – it’s had many, but the original one from 1974 and the 2nd edition from 1975 are sexy.  It’s literally a woman’s titties covered in a black bra with plenty of cleavage; around her neck is a gold chain with a tag on the right and a bullet threaded as her medallion resting right as the center of her bra.  Subsequent covers do it no justice, most are just ugly pink or pastel purple looking covers with just text, others may feature some cheerleader looking girl posing like it’s a cover for Cosmo.  I would even get into the 2000s era covers that were just butt fucking ugly cringe that look like a great big shit after eating a crave case at White Castle.

Lovehead is a painfully simple yet typical 1970s revenge story that centers around the separate but equal Brown sisters looking for vengeance against the shity, arrogant, asshole mob crime Bassalino brothers for assassinating their political activist sister Margaret at an abortion rally. It’s got all the 70sesque Holloway House tropes of the enlightened street bitch turned Jesus leading people to the promised land savior chick trying to save the street of hoes selling pussy with pimps taking their pie (literally and figuratively) who needs to die, a few head nods to something the junkies in Dopefiend would be doing with drugs and deaths, plus politics in how all these elements have consequences being the tie that binds all these people together.  Now the surviving sisters ain’t on good terms with each other, but put aside their petty differences to each go a target one of the Bassalino brothers and kill them.  A pact of sorts is made that they will do whatever the fuck it takes to kill their asses and the bitches ain’t playing. All of that is straightforward Colombo style – we know who the killers are, and we know the survivors want payback. The twist ending though, that is what will mind fuck you. It’s not a “gotcha” moment but you’ll raise an eye and chuckle with how Muvah Collins pulls you in and forces you to say “I see what you did there”.  Can’t say any more than that because it will spoil the damn ending and you’ll miss the “I see what you did there” moment that literally makes the book.

Oh, almost forgot, let me explain to the folks that might want to read the OG edition – should you read the UK version, the quotations for speaking will be different. they won’t be “like this” but ‘like that’.  It’s a bitch, a pain in the ass, and confusing for the Americans but it doesn’t take away from the story once you get used to the slight technical change in format.

Don’t dismiss Muvah Collins because of her reputation as the queen of trash in books like The World Is Full Of Married Men, Sinners, The Bitch and The Stud and think that this is what this is about. There is only one graphic sex scene and it isn’t dragged out like some of her more raunchier tidbits in The Bitch. I know, I couldn’t believe it my damn self.  Lovehead is incredibly violent, which is refreshing to see Muvah Collins writing out her comfort zone and getting into uncharted waters. Also, this is technically Jackie Collins’ first soiree into writing about Italian gangsters, something that she refined for what wound up becoming the Santangelo saga.

This is FAR FAR FAR FUCKING BETTER.  Now go discover a new Jackie Collins and read the fucking book.