Pins by Jessica McHugh

Eva “Birdie” Finch is a 21 year old slacker, wandering from job to job in her small town.  Wanting to fund her expensive drug habit with the least amount of work necessary, she decides on a whim to audition to be a stripper at a gentleman’s club/bowling alley combo named “PINS”.  During her tenure as an exotic dancer there are a couple murders that put a serious damper on the life of our devil-may-care heroine that forces her to do some serious soul-searching as she jumps from one boyfriend to a new love interest, and is forced to examine her possible bi-sexuality when she starts to fall for a fellow dancer named Honey.

Written from the perspective of Birdie, the book gives us an interesting insight into the lives of strippers.  While reading the book it hit me that this is the first book written by a woman that I’ve read in a long time.  And this is not because I’m sexist — it’s just the way the cookie has crumbled.   For the reason, the feminine narrative took me a bit to get used to, but once I got in the groove, I found myself enjoying it a lot.  My experience in strip clubs is limited to three experiences — two of them remembered in a drunken haze — but the lives imagined by me of the various dancers seems to be mirrored by those imagined by Mrs. McHugh.  At times it seemed like I was not reading a novel but a confessional, until it came back to the bloody elements, which reminded me of 80’s slashers like My Bloody Valentine, especially with the killers groan inducing Twitter posts.    There are a few possible candidates of who the killer could be, and I thought I knew who it was, only to find myself surprised by the conclusion.  The dialogue seemed a bit too snappy for it’s own good at times, as well as melodramatic and over the top, but it also has it’s side characters lampshade this by calling Birdie out on it.  Plus, all these things are fitting for a book based in titty bar/bowling alley.  The finale reminded me more than a bit of the works of Richard Laymon, which is a good and bad thing, but mostly lands on the side of good.  It’s over the top, but it works, and this is a pulp fiction novel, so I am willing to give it a pass.

McHughI had no idea who this Jessica McHugh person was until a few months ago when fellow blogger and BFF JP Thorn told me about her, and I’m glad he did.  I had a blast killing my bus commute time to and from work by spending time with the ladies of PINS.  Give her a like on her Facebook page.   She’s got quite a few books published in a short time and is a great inspiration for working stiffs/aspiring writers such as myself who want to balance their workload with their dreams.   I personally have gotten quite a bit from her posts, whether it be a laugh or inspiration.  She works hard to hone her craft and I hope her determination pays off.  It makes me finally want to write more of Splatterfest than the three chapters I have down.  I thank her deeply for her posts of encouragement to her fellow (wannabe) authors in regards to crafting their own works.

So yeah, this book, is an odd amalgam of chick-lit meets slasher flick, but it constantly entertained me and reading it became the high point of my day for the better part of a week.

Having a Kindle has opened up a world of independent publishing that I have thoroughly enjoyed.  If you do not have one, by all means, procure one immediately.  I have throughly enjoyed the worlds of independent publishing it has opened up to me.  Discovering authors like McHugh, Michealbrent Collings, and my favorite new writer Ade Grant (who will be the next Clive Barker if he keeps it up), have had a really profound effect upon me. I do have one short story published on Kindle, Night of the Fetus, but their works make me wish to have more.

Ok, tirade over.  PINS is a fun read, give it a go, you’ll enjoy it.



  1. I largely agree with your assessment of this book and the talented Mrs. McHugh. I really think more people need to read your short story, Night of the Fetus. Offer it for free for a short time and promote that shit.

    • If I could remember how to get into that part of my Amazon account, I would!

      • There’s gotta be a way. There’s gotta!

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