James Sallis
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Buy *Drive* online


James Sallis
Harvest Books
168 pages
September 2006
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars
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Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines' take on Drive.

Critically acclaimed novelist of works such as Death Will Have Your Eyes, Ghost Of a Flea, The Long-Legged Fly, and Eye Of The Cricket, James Sallis has created some amazing books. With his latest novella, Drive, expanded from a story in the anthology Measures Of Poison, Sallis doesn’t let his fans down with this semi-noir tour de force.

The excellently crafted thriller is fast-paced and as cool as one hundred and twenty pages can get, centering on a Hollywood movie stunt driver named Driver that moonlights as, of all things, a getaway driver. The opening chapter is scant but extremely effective.

Much later, as he sat with his back against an inside wall of a Motel 6 just north of Phoenix, watching the pool of blood lap toward him, Driver would wonder whether he had made a terrible mistake. Late still, of course, there’d be no doubt. But for now Driver is, as they say, in the moment. And the moment includes this blood lapping toward him, the pressure of dawn’s late light at windows and door, traffic sounds from the interstate nearby, the sound of someone weeping in the next room.

The blood was coming from the woman, the one who called herself Blanche and claimed to be from New Orleans even when everything about her except the put-on accent screamed east Coast – Bensonhurst, maybe, or some other far reach of Brooklyn. Blanche’s shoulders lay across the bathroom door’s threshold. Not much of her head left there: he knew that.
The story jumps around among Driver’s past, the robbery and the present, in which he is trying to get out after a bank robbery just North of Phoenix goes sour. Drive transcends the simplistic label of revenge or double-cross into a fantastic hardboiled noir with colorful characters and prose that jumps off the page. Excellent book. Let’s hope there are more Driver tales in the future.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Bobby Blades, 2005

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