Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All He Does Is Drive

This is an excellent contemporary noir novel in which a character becomes caught up by circumstances largely beyond his control and must then struggle to somehow survive.

The main protagonist, Driver, is a stunt driver for the movies, and there's none better. But he also moonlights driving for robberies, and the thrill is principally in the driving itself rather than in the monetary rewards. He makes his position clear to anyone who wants to employ his services: "I drive. That's all I do. I don't sit in while you're planning the score or while you're running it down. You tell me where we start, where we're headed, where we'll be going afterwards, what time of day. I don't take part, I don't know anyone, I don't carry weapons. I drive."

Apart from his driving, Driver leads a minimalist existence, moving frequently, paying cash, leaving virtually no trail. But then, as must always happen in a book like this, things go wrong on a number of levels; Driver winds up alienating some very bad people and the game is on.

This is a beautifuly written book, lean and taut without a single wasted word. One hopes that the release of the movie made from the book will finally garner for it and for James Sallis the wider attention that both he and this book certainly deserve.

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