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These 9 stories feature women who must have missed the memo saying girls should grow up playing with Barbie dolls and inviting friends to backyard tea parties. Some, like the twins of “The Birthmark,” are sweet—and cunning as Norwegian rats, a truth the boyfriend of one learns too late. “The Gypsy Girl from Bluefield” went to the school of hard knocks, became a lap dancer, and then took her sugar daddy for a long ride—all the way to Rio. Sandy LaFramboise of “Finding Sandy Biggers” thought she could outwit a professional jewelry thief, a psychopath, who would never stop looking for her. The sharp-eyed narrator of “Blackmail Is My Business” thought he had the smarts to run a scam past a rich man’s wife and he, too, learned he’s just a minnow in a world of sharks. All the stories feature women who are as tough, hungry, and dangerous as the men who try to use them or control them. It’s an entertaining ride for all readers who prefer violence, crime, and mayhem as vicarious pleasures.