Charles Bukowksi, Hubert Selby Jr., and Denis Johnson are familiar names in the literature about the druggies, rockers, criminals, and whores who habituate the dark side of American fiction, but there are few women writers in the club. Enter Ann Wood, an award-winning journalist who's been down and out and survived to laugh it off. With a frighteningly matter-of-fact style and no social agenda, Wood is an American original who writes like a female Charles Bukowksi: crude, rude, and raw; often very funny, sometimes shocking, disarmingly poignant, and incredibly readable.
In a story with parallels to the author's own life, Bolt Risk is an unapologetic bildungsroman about a young woman from an exclusive New England college who becomes a personal assistant, otherwise known as a "paid butt-wiper," to a Hollywood sitcom star. Fleeing the boredom of the tinsel town fringe, she lands a job as an exotic dancer and falls for Adam, lead guitarist of the popular thrash band Z, six feet four inches of raw talent, stud beauty, and unrestrained ego. Thus begins a droll and harrowing ride through the underworld of Los Angeles strip clubs, dive bars, and drug motels that sends her to a mental hospital, where she is astutely classified as a "bolt risk," a kid who is very likely to escape. Here the author re-creates the absurd daily world of Girl, Interrupted with a remarkable toughness that laughs in the face of institutional horror.
Ann Wood writes like few women before her. If Charles Bukowski had been a woman, Bolt Risk might have been his first novel.
Ann Wood graduated from Bennington College before heading to Hollywood, where she became an exotic dancer. She is currently a newspaper staff reporter and first-place winner of the New England Press Association Award for Arts and Entertainment.