In a forgotten part of Middle America, a defiant act leaves one man dead and one teenage girl faced with a stark decision that could mean losing everything.
Amy Wirkner, a high school senior in Barnesville, Ohio, is a loner, nicknamed “Chevy” for her size. She’s smart, funny, and absolutely determined to escape from her small town in the Ohio Valley, a place poisoned by fracking. She does well in school despite the cruelty of her classmates and has her eyes on a college scholarship, so she can one day become a veterinarian and make something of herself.But even as she tries to keep her head down and stay out of trouble, trouble seems to find her. Believing toxic water has poisoned her family, Amy one night becomes involved in an act of ecoterrorism against a local fracking company that goes terribly wrong. Her oldest friend Paul, as angry and defiant as she is, has drawn her into this dark world—and now a man is dead as a result. But Amy can’t—won’t—let one night’s mistake stand in the way of her plans.Touching on important topics as wide-ranging as ethnic hatred, police corruption, environmental decay, and gun violence, Lady Chevy is one girl’s story that highlights the darkest parts of modern America with surprising results.
John Woods grew up in Appalachian Ohio. He is a graduate of Ohio University's creative writing program and has published short stories in Meridian, Midwestern Gothic, Fiddleblack, and The Rag. He lives in Yorktown, Virginia.
"If Cormac McCarthy wrote women, he'd write them like Amy 'Chevy' Wirkner of Ohio. This is a stark, beautiful novel about a devastated land and its devastated people. From end to end, it's terrific, haunting and precise, deft and damning. A great new voice."
– Tom Franklin, New York Times bestselling author of "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" and "Poachers"
"Lady Chevy is a compelling look at some of the bleaker realities of modern America, but the best thing about it is its humanity. John Woods writes with honesty and compassion about a young woman trying to survive in a dark and violent world. In doing so, he creates a heroine fit for our troubled times."
– Jake Hinkson, author of "Dry County"
"Reading Lady Chevy by John Woods reminds me of my first encounters with the work of William Gay, Larry Brown, and Donald Ray Pollock. It's poetic and visceral, full of characters I won't soon forget, the place deeply alive on the page. It's a book of great emotional power, a book that's built to last. Searing, humane, and truly haunting."
– William Boyle, author of "Gravesend," "The Lonely Witness," and "A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself"
"John Woods' Lady Chevy is a hard-bitten work of the heart. He knows his people and their widely-neglected corner of America, knows their language, undying hopes and relentless fears. And knows how to bring them all to energetic life on every page."
– James Carlos Blake, author of "In the Rogue Blood," winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize