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The Speed Queen

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  986 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Stewart O'Nan is one of the most highly acclaimed fiction writers of his generation, selected by Granta as one of the Best Young American Novelists and hailed by The New York Times as "a master." Grove Press is proud to reissue his haunting noir novel The Speed Queen. The Speed Queen is the gripping story of a twisted love triangle's drug-fueled killing spree across the de ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published August 6th 2001 by Grove Press (first published March 17th 1997)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  986 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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J. Kent Messum
If 'The Speed Queen' proves anything, it's that Stewart O'Nan is one hell of a storyteller... and also that hard drugs inevitably lead to a downward spiral that can crash land you in the most unexpected and vicious situations imaginable.

This tale is told from the perspective of a death-row inmate awaiting her impending doom. Anticipating a phone call from the governor to stay her execution, she records one side of the story, her 'truth' about a killing spree she was involved in with her husband
Oct 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
While awaiting news on if her death sentence will be overturned, Marjorie Standiford sets the record straight on the wildly violent, drug-fueled journey that has led her to this moment.

Attention all Stephen King fans! This book is such a fun read. O'Nan's decision in having Marjorie recount her life story for the master or horror himself is icing on an already delicious cake. Jammed packed with humour, heart, twists and turns and literary references galore you'll speed through this as quickly as
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed-signiert
Die SPEED QUEEN - so würde Stephen King schreiben, wenn er nicht ... naja, ihr kennt ja meine Lieblingsparaphrase! Jedenfalls wollte ONan das Buch eigentlich DEAR STEPHEN KING nennen, denn mit diesen Worten wollte Marjorie ihre Beichte, die sie in der Todeszelle auf Kassette spricht, beginnen. Aber ONan durfte sein Kindchen nicht nach dem Meister benennen, das walteten die Anwälte. Auf der Lesung im Hamburger Amerikahaus am 9.6.1997, wo ONan aus seinem Buch las, leistete er sich dennoch eine ana ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Die Ich-Erzählerin sitzt in der Todeszelle, die Hinrichtung soll in wenigen Stunden stattfinden. Auf Tonbänder zeichnet sie ihre Geschichte auf, um sie als Stoff für einen Roman zu verkaufen: An niemand Geringeren als Stephen King.

Die Welt, in der die Speed Queen aufwuchs und in der sie auf die falsche Bahn geriet, ist der in Engel im Schnee nicht ganz unähnlich. Es geht um Kleinstadtbewohner, um Menschen, die in unqualifizierten Jobs landen, sich irgendwie durchs Leben wursteln, in kaputten Bez
If Marjorie were connected to Goodreads, she’d be a member of the “Stephen King Fans group", and we would be agreeing and disagreeing with her comments about his books. You feel at times that she is one of us and Stephen King would agree. (view spoiler) She’s part of the club; one who knows the secret hand-shake. Scary!

It seems that she had a pretty normal childhood, even if a little bored and lacking ambition. In t
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Stephen King friend and recommended book.

King’s friendship with Stewart O’Nan was born out of a literary dispute. Nine years ago, O’Nan wanted to title his third novel, Speed Queen, DEAR STEPHEN KING.

King says, “I loved the book, hated the title. I felt he was using me.”

Eventually, O’Nan dropped King’s name from the novel. He says he came to realize how many people want a piece of King. “It’s a level of celebrity I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

1/11/12 What a fun book for Stephen King fans! I loved
Željko Obrenović
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
O'Nan je došao na ideju koja je ili genijalna ili katastrofalna -- Stiven King intervjuiše ženu koja dok čeka izvršenje smrtne kazne, odgovara na njegova pitanja i u diktafon kazuje svoju ubilačku ispovest -- a u ovom slučaju je ispalo prvo.

Sve to u sinopsisu može delovati kao nekakav omaž Natural Born Killers jer imamo i veliku ljubav, i seksi hot rod, i višestruka svirepa ubistva, i drogu, ali je ovo zapravo roman mnogo više u maniru Kapotijeve knjige In Cold Blood: svakako rekonstrukcija zloč
Sean Owen
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Speed Queen" is a perfect piece of noir. In the right hands there's no better crime story, but in lesser hands it can devolve into cartoonish cliche. O'Nan does a bang up job of spinning a tale of hot rods, drugs and petty crimes as events speed towards a disasterous conclusion. The story is told by a prisoner on death row (an unreliable narrator in the vein of the best Jim Thompson) answering questions about the crimes into a tape recorder.
Aug 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who's ever been on drugs, death row or in love.
I can't believe more people haven't read or heard of this book!
The basic premise is that a woman on death row has had the rights to her story baught by stephen King and has until midnight to answer all his questions. Midnight is her literal deadline - her execution is due to take place. O'Nan actually wanted to call it something along the lines of "To My Darling Stephen King" but King's publicists stopped him. Its a shame - to my mind it is by far the best work King has ever been associated with
Gerri Leen
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-author
I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Stewart O'Nan is an unsung (or at least he was unsung to me) genius. I've read a half dozen or so at this point and only read one book that I couldn't get into, which for me, is very, very odd 'cause I'm so picky, and few authors have that good a hit rate with me. This is a fabulous "American noir" as the cover says with a highly unreliable narrator, who nonetheless manages to be both engaging and a bit sympathetic despite the fact she may be a spree ki ...more
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it is very difficult for a male writer to create a believable female character, the voice of death row inmate Marjorie Standiford in SPEED QUEEN is so powerful, I found myself dreaming about her. O'Nan's love for American icons like Route 66, vintage cars, and roadside hamburger stands is curiously tied into an homage to favored author, Stephen King in this death row confessional. I enjoy all of O'Nan's works especially the way every novel, circumstances, voice, and setting are radicall ...more
Joshua Thompson
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
The epitome of a great summer read. . A first person narrative of a woman on death row making an audio tape for Stephen King, who is going to write a novel based on her story.
Paul Edlund
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love this author's voice. He writes about the small spaces in human lives better than anyone else. This book is about some very broken people but still Mr. O'Nan makes them relatable.
May 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Stewart O’Nan. The Speed Queen. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997.

I read this on San Juan Island. Found it in a small bookstore on the island.

O'Nan's main characters are seedy people. They are criminals who aren’t exactly unlikable even though they do heinous things. They are probably like most crummy people – self-absorbed and thoughtless about their acts of unforgivable violence. (I always hate it when news broadcasts describe a horrible crime and then say, “No motive as yet for…” fill in the b
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
'The Speed Queen' refers to Marjorie, narrator of the book, as she sits on death row awaiting her execution for her part in a group of murders she committed with her husband, Lamont, and Natalie, a woman Marjorie met during a shorter stint in prison. As one reads it becomes clear that Marjorie has been contacted by Stephen King to hear her story and to turn it into a book of his own. Eager for the money which would go to her baby upon publication, O'Nan writes Marjorie's story as she dictates it ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
This novel by Stewart O'Nan probably can fit under the category `brutalism' or more appropriately, brutes. The conceit is a woman in prison narrating her story to Steven King, because of its gruesome and salacious nature.

O'Nan predicates two losers who think that ownership of an Oldsmobile 442 in red with mag wheels is the pinnacle of life, who are meth freaks, and who can't make a good drug deal. Enter a bisexual manipulative woman marginally smarter than the duo, add a big debt owed to dangero
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stewart O'Nan has become one of my favorite authors. His books have a consistent intensity and authenticity that is rare. I could not put this one down . . . a death row inmate is dictating an account of her life on the eve of her execution. Although there are clues along the way, it is written chronologically, so she seems human and sympathetic before all hell breaks loose. The details of her crimes are not revealed until the end.
BTW, she is recording her history to none other than Stephen King
Srta. Petruski
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es una de mis novelas favoritas de mis estanterias, de esas que de vez en cuando te apetece volver a leer.
Vivienne Strauss
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well written but wasn't able to feel much empathy for any of the characters. Downright chilling.
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
O'Nan's ability to have each novel completely different from the next is a true gift.
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This could not have been a better book to read just before Halloween. The premise is that master of the macabre genre, Stephen King, has sent Marjorie a series of questions to answer before she is executed for her involvement in a spree mass-killing event committed with her husband and her female lover. Marjorie is a classic example of the unreliable narrator. She wants you to believe what she is telling you is the truth because she has convinced herself that it is. It's hard to like her because ...more
Aimee Massey
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is written in an interesting format: as a series of audiotapes addressed to Stephen King!
It's Marjorie Standiford's last night on Earth. She is scheduled to die at midnight for her part in a bloody crime spree that covered Oklahoma and New Mexico. That was about eight years ago and now all her appeals are exhausted.
Marjorie isn't especially bothered by her upcoming execution, since King, her favorite author, has bought the rights to her life story and she knows her son will be well-set
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Interestingly written...I didn't choose this book, it chose me from a friend and I ended up liking it a LOT. It's odd, a bit. It has difficult subject matter. Our "Speed Queen" really makes some bad decisions and continues to make them throughout the book and while she finds religion, my opinion of her doesn't change from the first to the last page. There's no redemption here.

There'a a Stephen King element that readers of his would appreciate. Knowing that O'Nan and King wrote a book together ma
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Took me a little while to warm up to it, but once I got the rhythm of the writing, it was very good. I was really impressed that it was written by a man.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Different. Written a little awkwardly but it works as you learn as you go.
Char Lee  Sea
Aug 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Was not anything like I expected. Silly and boring.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Speed Demon
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Theodore Kinni
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it
A character study told in the first person by an unreliable narrator on the day of her execution for her part in a crime/killing spree. Well-written, but might have been a better short story.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first half is pretty slow, but the last quarter really picks up. It's an interesting read. Not for the faint of heart.
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Stewart O'Nan is the author of eleven novels, including Snow Angels and A Prayer for the Dying, a story collection, and two works of nonfiction. His previous novel, Last Night at the Lobster, was a national bestseller, was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was named one of the New York Public Library Books to Remember. Additionally, Granta named him one of the 20 Best Young Ameri ...more