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Midnight Cab [Hardcover]

James W. Nichol
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Feb. 12 2002 0676974295 978-0676974294 1
Hailing from a small Northern Ontario town, Walker Devereaux, age nineteen, is in Toronto to discover the truth about his early life, the years leading up to the age of three when he was found abandoned on a country road, terrified and clinging to a wire fence. He had no identification but in his pocket was a photograph of two young girls splashing in a lake and a chatty letter from a teenager. His clothes were well cared for, and a dim memory of his mother even now assures him that he was loved. But he wants to know who his mother was, and why she abandoned him, and whether he had a father.

At the cab company where he works, Walker befriends the night dispatcher, Krista, a pretty, brave young woman. Wheelchair bound but resourceful, she helps him crack the code of his parents’ identity. But the quest to discover his mother’s whereabouts swiftly becomes perilous as Walker finds himself within the deadly grasp of Bobby, a young sociopath who has matured from early cruelty to murderous pleasure.

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Product Description

From Amazon

A search for birth parents is a common premise in fiction, but rarely has it been used as a basis for a mystery as convincing as Midnight Cab. The story begins in 1979, with the discovery of a mysteriously abandoned three-year-old boy, Walker Devereaux, at the side of a rural Ontario road. It quickly flashes forward to 1995, when Walker, now driving a cab in Toronto, has committed himself to a quest to discover his real identity and that of his parents. Nichol then shifts chronological gears again, back to 1961, where we meet budding young psychopath Bobby Nuremborski. The stories of Walker and Bobby are told alternately, but not until we are halfway through the book do we glimpse their inevitable confrontation. From there, the tale continues through numerous surprising twists and turns, as Nichol masterfully ratchets up the suspense. Balancing the bone-chilling evocation of evil in Midnight Cab is the heartwarming depiction of the romance unfolding between Walker and his wheelchair-bound cab dispatcher, Krista.

Nichol first introduced Walker and Krista in his popular Midnight Cab series of CBC Radio dramas in the early 1990s. Given that background, and Nichol's experience as a playwright, it's no surprise that his dialogue is sharp. His prose style is crisp, too, and often poetic, as in "an invisible drizzle that immediately started to bead like tiny diamonds on his grey wool jacket." It actually seems a shame that Nichol, an exceptional talent, took so long to produce his first novel. This Midnight Cab can indeed be hailed--as a superb read. --Kerry Doole

From Publishers Weekly

Adapted from a popular Canadian radio drama, this light, engaging first novel by playwright Nichol is a coming-of-age story steeped in mystery. Abandoned by the roadside at the age of three, 19-year-old Walker Devereaux sets off to find his birth parents with the aid of only two clues: a photo of his mother as a child and a cryptic letter to her from her best friend. In pursuit of his past, he leaves his adoptive family and girlfriend in Big River and moves to Toronto, where he finds work on the graveyard shift at a cab company. He falls in with his dispatcher, the attractive, wheelchair-bound Krista Papadopoulos. Together, they follow the trail of Walker's parents as it leads from Toronto's chic Forest Hill neighborhood to the shores of Lake Erie and finally to Kingston, Jamaica. Nichol weaves in the story of Bobby, an animal-torturing, Hannibal Lechter–like character who Walker must confront if he is to learn his family's dark past. In an attempt to dissuade them from probing further, Bobby sets Krista's car on fire and kills Walker's cat, Kerouac. Undeterred, Walker soldiers on. Nichol's instincts as a playwright serve him well. The dialogue between Walker and Krista is quick and playful, and though the suspense rarely builds to Hitchcockian heights, the novel is well paced and the pages turn quickly.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read Aug. 10 2002
By Mapol
Really good! Different for any mystery recently read. Quirky, engaging characterizations with and original plot.
Can't wait for the next one!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We want a sequel! April 20 2005
By Dave Schwinghammer - Published on Amazon.com
The title of this mystery/thriller is a bit misleading, probably because it was based on a popular radio drama of the same name. Certainly, the main character, Walter Devereaux drives a cab, but that's not the focus of the story.

MIDNIGHT CAB is set in Toronto, Canada, and it starts with a three-year-old boy clinging to a wire fence at the side of a country road. This is Walter Devereaux; he's found and placed in a number of foster homes before he goes to live with the Devereauxs in Big River, Canada. They're an ideal family and he loves them dearly, but he feels he must go to Toronto to find his real parents. He has a letter and a picture of two little girls that he hopes will help him in his quest.

Walter has trouble finding a job but ultimately he finds work at the A.P. Cabs owned by Alphonso Piatelli, who tries to hire him off the books. His night dispatcher, Krista Papadopoulos, soon puts an end to that and a romance ensues. Oh, yeah, Krista just happens to be in a wheel chair.

A parallel story has to do with Bobby Nuremborski, a young boy who hungers for the attention of his father. Bobby will remind you of the killer in LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR. He's gay but he won't admit it; his father would never tolerate a homosexual son. Eventually the two stories intersect leading to some gripping action.

The setting of the story shifts from Toronto to Jamaica, and that's when the novel loses some of its credibility. Like Tony Hillerman, when he moves the story off the Navajo reservation, the author, James W. Nichol, needs to focus on what he knows best. The Canada sequences are believable and compelling, Jamaica not so much.

Despite these quibbles I enjoyed MIDNIGHT CAB immensely and would like to see a sequel. Krista and Walter are likeable characters and the cab company is an ideal setting for a mystery series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT book!! Read it!! Nov. 12 2005
By jaycide - Published on Amazon.com
I travel a lot in my car, so audio books are a must for me. I picked this one up at the library - and it was hard for me to turn my car off when I got to where I was going!

As you read in the summary, the book is about a 19-year-old who is trying to find out who his real parents are. He was found left by the side of the road when he was three, with only a photograph and a cryptic letter.

His hunt takes him to Toronto, where he and his new girlfriend do some detective work...and when they seem to have it all figured out, the author throws in another twist.

There is another side story in the book that takes place around the life of another teenager, but this scene is set many years beforehand.

Once the two stories meet up, everything falls into place.

This is a must-read for anyone who likes thrillers!
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate Read Nov. 25 2012
By Pauline Kaldelli - Published on Amazon.com
This book has it all ! Nichols has successfully combined warmth, hate, suspense and danger in one fascinating story. I was actually sorry when I finished it - wanted MORE (not from Midnight Cab, but from Nichols !
A boy searching for his roots couldn't ask for more adventure than Walker found. Excellent twists and turns give Walker and the reader a most entertaining reaad.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read Aug. 10 2002
By Mapol - Published on Amazon.com
Really good! Different for any mystery recently read. Quirky, engaging characterizations with and original plot.
Can't wait for the next one!
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing entertaining thriller Dec 22 2004
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Nineteen years old Walker Devereaux leaves his adopted home in Big River for Toronto, but not with the youthful vigor of living in the big city; Walker is obsessed to learn about his past starting with why his mom Lennie abandoned him on an isolated road when he was three. He has a clue from someone who apparently knew his mom; a letter that was written to Lennie from her school friend Kim that includes a picture of two girls that Walker assumes one is his mom.

In Toronto Walker obtains work driving a cab on a graveyard shift and a friend he deeply likes is wheelchair-bound dispatcher Krista Papadopoulos. Her brilliance enables Walker to follow clues that take him initially to the exclusive upper crust Forest Hill neighborhood and eventually to Jamaica. However, someone wants Walker and Krista to stop or else; perhaps that unknown culprit is the seemingly deranged Bobby Nuremborski who Walker must confront if he is to close in on the truth about what happened to his mother.

MIDNIGHT CAB is a solid suspense thriller starring two delightful lead protagonists whose banter lightens a dark tale. The prime story line is Walker's quest, but a subplot involving how crazy Bobby is will chill the audience who know that the two men will collide, but doubt whether the hero will survive. Interestingly in spite of wonderfully placed false leads and red herring missteps, fans know the altercation is coming so the suspense is somewhat muted when it does. Still James W. Nichols writes an intriguing entertaining thriller that will keep readers attention throughout.

Harriet Klausner
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