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The Speed Queen

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Since the ”go on a cross-country killing spree in a classic American automobile” genre of contemporary fiction and film has been done to death, Stewart O’Nan had to come up with a new twist in The Speed Queen. It’s a fairly shameless name-dropping lure: The sexy killer is awaiting lethal injection on death row but has sold the rights to her crystal-meth-fueled story to none other than Stephen King, who has her answer, on tape, 114 questions about herself, her accomplices and lovers, and their dirty deeds. (The book was originally titled Dear Stephen King, but King’s lawyers nixed that.) But even O’Nan’s catchy confessional structure can’t make new the predictable material — the drug deal gone sour, the massacre in a fast-food restaurant, the getaway on Route 66 — for which one can almost hear the impending movie soundtrack. C+

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