By David Canfield
January 18, 2019 at 08:30 AM EST
Matt Valentine; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In post-#MeToo fiction, revenge is on the rise. But few titles feel as righteously ripped from the headlines as Amy Gentry’s Last Woman Standing — a suspense novel that follows Dana Diaz, a fictionalized female stand-up who’s had enough of her sexist industry. Recently harassed in the back of a limo by a revered comic, she teams with Amanda, a computer programmer, to go after her abusers. “These guys do the same thing, over and over again,” Amanda says in the novel, “until somebody finally sticks up to them.”

If Dana’s experiences seem queasily familiar, that’s by design. Gentry (Good as Gone) tells EW that the story was directly inspired by Louis C.K. and Bill Cosby, two Emmy-winning icons who’d gotten away with accusations of sexual misconduct for years. (C.K. admitted to the claims made against him in November 2017, while Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault last spring.) “I’m married to a comedy performer and know lots of people in that world, so I was probably more aware of these things than most non-comedians,” the author says.

But Last Woman Standing isn’t quite a revenge fantasy. While pulpy and stuffed with gore and violence, the novel genuinely engages with the mechanics of payback, the complexities and limitations of embarking on such a quest. Dana realizes that in order to achieve her goal, she’ll need to betray those closest to her. She questions — as anyone in her position would — whether the effort is worth it.

Indeed, Gentry stresses, these are based on real stories and real experiences. The inspirations for her heroines were up-and-coming comics Gina Brillon and Vanessa Gonzalez (the latter of whom will soon debut a special on Comedy Central). “I wanted to echo the feeling of local lineups, where people are still finding their voices,” says Gentry. In Last Woman Standing, you hear those voices loud and clear — and empowered.

Last Woman Standing is now available for purchase.

A version of this article appears in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now or buy it here. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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