I woke up this morning thinking about a really crazy romance novel I read when I was about fourteen or so. I can't remember the name of it, or who it was by, which is making me sad because I'd really love to get my hands on a copy. It was truly one of the most insane books ever, and I know it's been a big influence on my own writing.
From what I can remember the plot went like this: A good old southern boy with a rednickish type of name (Delbert or Delmont? something like that) decides to leave his shitty southern hometown and make his way to California. While stopped at a gas station he meets the heroine, a trashy girl who's been abandoned there by her last guy. She basically offers Delbert her pussy in exchange for a ride to California. He likes the idea, so he hitches up her rickety trailer to his truck and off they go, fucking their way across the country.
Since it's a romance novel they fall in love of course, and have a lot of strange adventures. At the end they meet up with this really kind preacher and his wife (in Texas?) who are building a roller rink for the members of their church. The preacher feeds them, gives them money, and lectures them both on how they should quit sinning and get married. They argue and squabble about this advice and storm off, and you figure it's only a matter of time before the two are declaring their love in a happy ending, right? But that's when the novel took a completely bizarre turn.
In a very WTF plot twist, the preacher goes completely nuts, gets a high powered rifle, and starts shooting the church members while they are blissfully roller skating around to disco tunes. He also slits his wife's throat. Then Delbert and the chicky (maybe her name was Candy? Sandy?) meet up with him while he is surrounded by cops and convince him to turn himself in.
I think at the very end they do go on to California together but that may be wrong. I can't really remember, even though I must have read it a hundred times or so. Does this book sound familiar to anyone? It was published in the 1970's by some little publishing house, I think. Not Harlequin or any of the other big romance publishers. I found it at a thrift store and the cover was missing.
I loved it because it went against all of the romance novel cliches. The characters were flawed in a delightfully quirky way. The hero wasn't all that dreamy, he had a temper and got into a few fistfights. The heroine was kinda slutty, and not all that bright. Then there was the whole whacked out holy roller/roller rink murder rampage.
I really doubt something like this would be published today, which is a shame. It was a million times better than that stupid piece of shit Twilight book. I'll never understand the appeal of that one. Bella is a boring twit who stumbles around so much she should wear a retard helmet, and Edward is a dull weirdo. Would you really want to be with a guy who spent his nights staring at you while you slept? Ewww.
Of course, maybe I'm hallucinating again and this book I've described is just my dream novel. If it rings a bell though, I'd be eternally grateful to the person who can tell me the title or author.