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Good morning everyone! Welcome to the final chapter recap of Bad Town For A Pretty Face: New York! And of course thank you for coming along with me for this whole book! I sincerely hope you enjoyed. Now make sure you’re caught up before you scroll down so you won’t be spoiled!
We’re with Eyana! In our longest chapter of the story. My goal for this Bad Town was to tighten it up because they just kept getting longer and longer; 59,129 in Las Vegas (but I believe I revised after and this number is inaccurate); 64,684 in New Orleans; 68,881 in Miami (note that for whatever reason in my notes I didn’t include the epilogue in NOLA but did for Miami, so this is slightly skewed). It’s too fucking much! They actually all have eighteen chapters too, so it’s really that the chapters just go on and on. This time around I lowered both our chapter count and total word count: just 47,280 words not including the epilogue. Almost twelve thousand less than the very first Bad Town! Not that I think this is going to be the norm for these stories, I think they’ll climb closer to 55k, but for this particular tale this is the length that works.
Now that I’ve blessed you all with stats you don’t care about, let’s get back to the chapter. I decided it would work best to finish the story with Eyana even though we just had her POV in chapter thirteen. I’d originally planned to start with Eyana and move to Wendy as a flipped version of chapter one, but that ended up not working out. Which is fine because we still get to watch Eyana wipe the floor with Tate’s goons. Yes, I am using the word goons too often, but it’s a very fun word and I’m not doing the most editing this time around, okay? I’m tired. I’m busy. I’m marathoning the new season of You on Netflix. She forces the goons to retreat so the Astors and Brienne can easily make their way past the restaurants as she makes her own way to Track 61’s emergency entrance, which Cleo (as Eyana as the Wicked Witch) is guarding.
The pair quickly dispose of the goon standing there and go through the door expecting a battle, but the men who were supposed to be watching out have been scared away by Eyana’s reputation, so they’re able to sneak in and hide out. It’s not long after that that Tate arrives, fresh from attempting to murder Brienne as Wendy. Tate as a character gets the least screen time of any named Bad Town character except for Eve Franco, the FBI agent who got name-dropped in the Bad Town: Miami epilogue. It’s just the way the story unfolded, since the team is trying to escape her for much of the book, but the moments she’s present I try to put everything about her on the page. She’s put-together and distinguished, but that’s really just on the surface and can be easily chipped away. Beneath she’s paranoid, short-fused, self-serving, manipulative, miserly, and lonely. She hoards money and power to keep herself safe to the point of ignoring all morality, then convinces herself that even as a liar she’s a good friend.
So here’s the thing. Just a quick tangent. Clearly Tate is the bad guy in this story. But since you’ve read the ending (spoiler: the epilogue doesn’t affect the end result of this chapter) you can ask yourself: is Tate really all that bad? Okay, listen, I know this is coming from the author, I have room in my heart for all the Bad Town characters AND a soft spot for Aidy Nielson of all people, but without getting into her conversation with Astor (we’ll delve into that later) is she like, not the worst? We forgive and semi-forgive Riley and Neve for a lot of shit, and even admire Verene and Colette for some of the stunts they pull. Is loyalty to the gang the fine line between a severely subjective good and evil? If so then Shay and Candy would be ultra evil instead of our favorite Romeo and Juliet. I’m just saying I have many soft spots and Tate may be one of them.
Back to Cleo and Eyana, who hear some interesting stuff from Tate. She’s frustrated, she doesn’t like, respect or trust her guards as much as she does the gang, and she doesn’t have as much an upper hand as you would think given how lonely and desperate she is. Even when she locks herself in an old, abandoned train car you get the feeling she’s not so out of reach, like Astor and the gang have a very fair chance at taking her down. Since the pair are hiding out they decide to give Brienne and the Astors cover when they show up, and for me to keep things moving they show up pretty quickly. All out war begins, which is not Cleo’s expertise, so Eyana hands over her gun so they can hide away and duel-wield for maximum safety. I really liked having a character who wasn’t participating in all the violence and shoot-outs that most do, I really want to utilize more characters that way in the future.
So Eyana dives into a crowd of fighting, which is exactly her expertise, and finds the gang acting to their fullest, including Wendy’s intentional overkill. She joins in until maybe at some point, in complete darkness and a great deal of confusion, the Grim Reaper’s a little taller and Freddie’s a quick and breathless talker. That’s the big switcheroo! God, how long have I been planning that? Oh right, the entire story. So Wendy was fake Astor and now she’s herself, and Brienne is Wendy, and Astor is fake Astor. If Tate were in a better place she might realize she’s down a girl, but she’s having a rough go of things right now, especially when Cleo as Eyana jumps on to the roof of her train car and points a gun at the emergency hatch. Feels like game over, right?
Wrong! As if. Tate understands at this point her boys need a little incentive, so she offers a cool ten grand to everyone who makes it out of there (provided, of course, that Astor and the gang are rounded up and taken prisoner). If you’re wondering what Tate’s next step would’ve been, please don’t assume she would’ve used logic or her brain. I figure she would drag the gang back to her office, try to talk them down, get frustrated when Astor ultimately flips out (keep in mind Astor’s reaction to her friend kidnapping her and the gang would be slightly different than the feeling of success she’d had at the end of our actual chapter so they would be having two wildly different conversations) and probably kill everyone but Brienne, who has her own purpose as a potential ally or servant in Chicago. But of course even those events wouldn’t have been likely because as soon as things started to go south Astor would’ve just murdered her and anyone who posed a threat.
Cleo tackles Tate in the moment, and when Tate quickly composes herself the Grim Reaper implores her to stop. Bad move, Grim! Ya gettin’ shot about it. But guess what, Tate? That’s not Wendy, that’s Astor! You just shot your friend dumbass! Is what you guys would say if you weren’t like ‘oh shit Astor’s down.’ Been awhile since I killed off a beloved character, maybe you guys have been getting too comfortable. Maybe I’ll just start offing people. Like this medic that Tate calls for, which tells y’all she’s so concerned about no one getting hurt that she’s brought a doctor for them. But that would foil their plan so Wendy shoots him and kills a man nearby as though he were the perpetrator (I spelled that right first go!) and she were taking him out for it. Tate buys it and buys what the readers are also buying in this moment, that Astor’s cradled in her arms for non-trickery reasons.
The gang reveals the swap and Tate’s aghast, then horrified about shooting her friend. But Astor only chides her for trying to kill a trusted ally and, ya know, all the other shit she’s pulled. Tate is genuinely apologetic — not for what she did to Fia, which would be ideal but let’s be honest, we’re not getting that from her — but for her reaction when Astor found out. She hunted them, hid from them, shot at them. They’re her family and she thinks she’s stupid and insane for forgetting. And then Astor DIES just kidding, she does something incredibly gross and squeezes her wound. All that blood is corn syrup! A huge relief to anyone skeeved out reading that and to Tate, who now knows Cleo swapped out her gun for one loaded with blanks during their scuffle. All part of Astor and Wendy’s master plan.
Tate was always so composed for this story, but now she’s sitting on a dirty concrete floor sobbing uncontrollably. She really, really needs the gang, and when Astor gently talks her down we find out why: she has PTSD, explaining why she’s always paranoid, wound up, and deals with trauma by isolating herself and waging insane, unnecessary battles. Is that an excuse? No, not really, but it’s something to sympathize, and that’s the first step. Astor knows how her friend is feeling, being a vet herself, though I didn’t go too heavy on the war and the federal government screwing over the youth because this is a YA story about girl gangs so maybe not the best time and place. The thing is, even with Tate being a very shadowy figure who presents as very mature and put-together, she’s still a human being, and it turns out we are very stupid and fragile creatures.
Astor maybe takes too much pity on her in deciding she doesn’t have to step aside while amends are made. It could one day prove to be a crucial mistake, but for now even with Eyana’s weariness that’s where the gang stands. With a lot of progress, with Brienne staying in New York (for now), with a temporary easement. And, thanks to Eyana, with Wendy officially on the team. She’s as ecstatic as you’d expect her to be, which helps with the mood considerably. And you have to figure she’ll be really helpful when it comes to Tate’s therapy sessions. The gang abandon the grimy subway platform and emerge into the sunlight, an obvious sign we’re wrapping things up, but before we can have a happy ending Astor and Eyana have to have a small conversation, a confirmation, really: Tate isn’t in the clear and she probably never will be, and if or when the time comes that Astor has to work against her she will be merciless.
That leads us, then, to only a semi-peaceful ending, with a lot of queasiness and a great deal of storm clouds on the horizon. I personally love it because it feels like not another — I don’t want to say loose end, but another plot line that has to be addressed in the future. It’s almost like I’m writing a real series! But not right now. As I’ll let everyone know at the end of the epilogue (remember to stay tuned for that) I’m taking a little reprieve to focus on other projects. In an ideal world I would vow to post some extras in the meantime, but I’m a realist and I doubt that would actually happen. Hopefully within the year I’ll return with the next Bad Town For A Pretty Face or a different, new, exciting story. Until then, be sure to check out the epilogue, for which there won’t be a recap, and after that’s posted you can download the Bad Town: New York ebook. You can also set email alerts for new posts in the bottom left. And of course thank you so much for reading! I really hope you liked!