"The Special" by J.E. Pendleton
This is the first ever book review on the BEGI website. Several years ago, an old buddy (Jim) sent me a rough draft of a novel he had just completed. I read it and was completely surprised and delighted with the combination of fast cars, beautiful women, World War II, and baseball. The biggest surprise of all was how my old hot rod buddy and fellow racer was able to write a story that completely captured my imagination and drew me completely into the scene. Jim put together words and phrases that literally put your mind right into the story. His magic use of words is absolutely stunning and beautiful. I now think of the characters as treasured friends. I'm not going to admit what I think about Sally.
The book is set in 1941 San Diego and follows a young Texan as he builds a dry lakes hot rod before the term even existed. The car is built from scratch, with help and parts from legends such as Harry Miller, Fred Offenhauser, Frank Kurtis, and Tommy Lee, a future founder of the SCCA. Oh, and I did mention beautiful women, didn't I? His most devoted assistant was beautiful Sally Anthony, and just so you know, she's already taken, after all it is my website.
The car is a dry lakes streamliner. It uses a cast off Indy car engine and a hand-built body and chassis. The book details aspects of the car's construction and its performance. Its builder, my friend's uncle, names the car "The Special". What can be better than a beautiful woman, Sally, driving a beautiful car?
As the car nears completion, the country is plunged into the horrors of a world war and lives are changed forever. Race cars are set aside for bombers, romance is put on hold for duty, and Sally pulls out all the stops.
By this time you may think I'm obsessed with Sally, I just have to say that obsession doesn't even come close.
This is a great read.