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Step to the Graveyard Easy [Hardcover]

Bill Pronzini
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 2002
There is a price to pay for redemption
Grabbing the reader with the opening line of Step to the Graveyard Easy, Bill Pronzini shows again why he is considered one of America's leading masters of suspense. As he did in Blue Lonesome, In an Evil Time, and A Wasteland of Strangers, Pronzini delves into character and motivation without missing a beat of the action as he portrays men and women caught up in events not of their own making. There's no time to worry about their fears: they deal with the threats they face in the manner of real people, not pawns of a plotline.

As many have been before him, Matthew Cape is confronted by the need to make a change, to go where he's never been, to do things he's never dared. That means giving up everything he has, starting fresh no matter the cost and no matter who might get hurt.

The Corvette is manageable, skydiving is fun, and gambling, well, that has always been a passion. Dealing with grifters like Boone and Tanya Judson, however, is something new, and when they try to cheat Cape in a crooked poker game in San Francisco, he begins to learn lessons that aren't part of his plan. From the City by the Bay to Lake Tahoe, a trail of deceit finally leads Cape to the peace he seeks, the freedom he wants, and the redemption he needs.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This slim novel from a veteran of noir thrillers, including the Nameless Detective series, is as slick and plot driven as they come. Matt Cape is 35 and stuck in a rut: when his wife catches him in bed with another woman, he quits his job and takes to the road, leaving his old life (or lack thereof) behind. He heads south, then west, eventually landing in San Francisco, where he is fleeced in a card game by Boone Judson and his sidekick, Tanya. Cape gets his and the other players' money back, along with some mysterious photographs. He returns the money to its owners and follows the cardsharps to Lake Tahoe, where he also tracks down the people in the photos and warns them that they may be in danger. When a high-stakes poker game ends in carnage, Cape is sure that Boone and Tanya were involved, but now there's someone else in the picture, someone even more dangerous than the grifters. The police think Cape knows more than he lets on, making his search for the murderer that much more urgent. Pronzini (Nothing but the Night; Blue Lonesome) efficiently pulls readers into Cape's world, but other characters get little fine shading. The author compensates with lean, tart dialogue and snappy pacing as Cape doggedly tries to right the world's wrongs, like a jaded Robin Hood. Though he's an ordinary man caught up in events beyond his control, he is also fearless before death and, through him, readers can act out the pulp fantasy of a good guy beating the odds.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Pronzini, author of the "Nameless Detective" series, grabs readers on the first page of this work and hurtles them through a series of twists and turns, culminating in a surprise ending. A quiet salesman, Matthew Cape leads a dull, predictable life, but his midlife crisis prompts radical change: he leaves his wife, quits his job, and severs all ties to his past. Out to create a violently new life for himself, he buys a Corvette, tries skydiving, and takes to the road cross-country. While gambling in San Francisco, he meets up with Boone and Tanya Judson, who start him on a trail that leads to deceit and murder. Drawing on skills he didn't know he had, he evades both police and criminals, until he finally finds the redemption he seeks. Using sharp, staccato sentences, Pronzini accomplishes more in 180 pages than many authors do in two or three times the space. The suspense is pitched so high that one finds oneself turning the pages faster and faster. Highly recommended for all libraries. Fred Gervat, Concordia Coll., Bronxville, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! Aug. 17 2002
Format:Hardcover
When I started Steps To The Graveyard Easy, I was unsympathetic to the protagonist Matt Cape. He was a man with a stable family, good job, and someone well thought of by most people. He purposely turns all of this upside down and abandons everything and everyone to ostensibly find true "freedom" by heading for the open road. But was this his real motive for giving up everything? Along the way, Pronzini paints a picture of Cape that seems to stretch one's thoughts about him and his actions to the point of being unbelieveable. But, that's the genius of Pronzini's writing and one soon finds great empathy and positive feelings for Matt as the meanings of his actions become known.
While not as long as King's The Stand or as broad in scope as Long's The Descent, this is a book that feels like it and if it were any longer would be superfluous.
This is a suspensful story with a good plot and with chartacters that are completely believable. This book has several moral dilemmas, along with a great murder/mystery, that are resolved quite nicely and the twist ending begs the question "What would you do?"
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting noir June 8 2002
Format:Hardcover
All his life Matthew Cape has been considered a good person, a kind and honest man whom works hard and is faithful to his wife. In the middle of a day, his world is turned upside down when Anna walks into her bedroom and sees Matt with another woman. After Anna confronts him and leaves Matt packs up and leaves home for parts unknown.

He travels all over the country seeing new places and enjoying the wild side of life. In San Francisco, con artists Tanya and Boone Judson take him in but Matt manages to turn the tables on them and regains his money. Though something Judsons let slip and through photographs, Matt travels to Lake Tahoe where he comes in contact with true evil and takes a stand that will either mean his salvation or his damnation.

This novel is neither pretty nor neat but it is an honest reflection of the human condition. Bill Pronzini, author of the famous Nameless Detective series, lays bare the soul of his protagonist in such a way that readers will come to accept his choices he made. STEP TO THE GRAVEYARD EASY is literary noir that is dark, brooding and very haunting, a book that the audience will long remember.

Harriet Klausner
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Step to the Graveyard Easy Nov. 29 2002
Format:Hardcover
The old pro (pronzini) did it again. I did not like Matt Cape
and for the most part I was glad that this was a short book. But the last chapter changed everything. Including how I rated this book. (before the final chapter I was going to rate this book a 3) I have been a fan of Bill Pronzini for over 20 years and this is far from one of his best. Read Blue Lonesome or Wastland for Strangers if you want to see him at the top of his game.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding July 13 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Outstanding book from the very start to the last word. I think it is Pronzini's best since A Wasteland Of Strangers.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! Aug. 17 2002
By Brad Vautrinot - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When I started Steps To The Graveyard Easy, I was unsympathetic to the protagonist Matt Cape. He was a man with a stable family, good job, and someone well thought of by most people. He purposely turns all of this upside down and abandons everything and everyone to ostensibly find true "freedom" by heading for the open road. But was this his real motive for giving up everything? Along the way, Pronzini paints a picture of Cape that seems to stretch one's thoughts about him and his actions to the point of being unbelieveable. But, that's the genius of Pronzini's writing and one soon finds great empathy and positive feelings for Matt as the meanings of his actions become known.
While not as long as King's The Stand or as broad in scope as Long's The Descent, this is a book that feels like it and if it were any longer would be superfluous.
This is a suspensful story with a good plot and with chartacters that are completely believable. This book has several moral dilemmas, along with a great murder/mystery, that are resolved quite nicely and the twist ending begs the question "What would you do?"
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting noir June 8 2002
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
All his life Matthew Cape has been considered a good person, a kind and honest man whom works hard and is faithful to his wife. In the middle of a day, his world is turned upside down when Anna walks into her bedroom and sees Matt with another woman. After Anna confronts him and leaves Matt packs up and leaves home for parts unknown.

He travels all over the country seeing new places and enjoying the wild side of life. In San Francisco, con artists Tanya and Boone Judson take him in but Matt manages to turn the tables on them and regains his money. Though something Judsons let slip and through photographs, Matt travels to Lake Tahoe where he comes in contact with true evil and takes a stand that will either mean his salvation or his damnation.

This novel is neither pretty nor neat but it is an honest reflection of the human condition. Bill Pronzini, author of the famous Nameless Detective series, lays bare the soul of his protagonist in such a way that readers will come to accept his choices he made. STEP TO THE GRAVEYARD EASY is literary noir that is dark, brooding and very haunting, a book that the audience will long remember.

Harriet Klausner
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Step to the Graveyard Easy Nov. 29 2002
By D. Hensley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The old pro (pronzini) did it again. I did not like Matt Cape
and for the most part I was glad that this was a short book. But the last chapter changed everything. Including how I rated this book. (before the final chapter I was going to rate this book a 3) I have been a fan of Bill Pronzini for over 20 years and this is far from one of his best. Read Blue Lonesome or Wastland for Strangers if you want to see him at the top of his game.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how a pro writes Feb. 17 2012
By TedTheewen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This book has some of the tightest dialogue I've ever read. In fact, if I were to point to an example for other writers to follow, this would be it. This is what tight dialogue looks like and this is how it is supposed to read.

Most of this book is dialogue and it is so perfectly written that you still know these characters just enough for the story to move without being bogged down with info dumps. Best of all, we're left wondering about the main character's motivation right up to the very end.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding July 13 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Outstanding book from the very start to the last word. I think it is Pronzini's best since A Wasteland Of Strangers.
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