Black Opal Books (2017)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (7/18)
“Death of a Kootch Show Girl” by Corey Recko reminds me of growing up in the country, and one of the major attractions we all waited anxiously for was the carnival. I can’t recall what the attraction was, maybe the sword swallower, bearded lady, or the rebel game hosts. Typically, on the last night of the carnival, the carnies look forward to either going home or just staying in one place for awhile. On the last night in 1953 Ohio, one of the strippers is found dead.
Recko provides an interesting take on the profiles of carnival workers, and how freak attractions are often fake, but look so real one wouldn’t be able to detect it. Much of the wording and language show that many who travel with the carnival have little or no education. I thought the author did a great job in his description of the carnival, and characters. As in many cases, people have their own perception of others “odd” behaviors, often based on lack of knowledge of history.
One area that distracted my reading somewhat was the interrogation. Relationships with the victim from each character’s point of view seemed redundant from the original narrative. I also found the scene where a man finds the stripper’s body in a pool of blood to be somewhat funny in that on the way to call the police he races past the food tent and yells for someone to make him a burger. Another interesting point is Bozo the Clown refers to himself in the third person.
The local police have no leads, weapon or anyone who might have committed this murder. Although Chief Davis doesn’t believe anyone in the carnival would kill the stripper, he does suspect that her teasing the local men with sexual favors and giving them fake keys to her motel room might cause some harmful thoughts.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. Readers will find the ending to “Death of a Kootch Show Girl” by Corey Recko a surprise. Never in my wildest thoughts would I have imagined the ending!