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The Getaway Man [Paperback]

Andrew Vachss
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 4 2003 Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original
Eddie starts stealing cars long before he's old enough to get a license, driven by a force so compelling that he never questions, just obeys. After a series of false starts, interrupted by stays in juvenile institutions and a state prison term, Eddie's skills and loyalty attract the attention of J.C., a near-legendary hijacker. When he gets out, Eddie becomes the driver for J.C.'s ultra-professional crew. J.C., the master planner, is finally ready to pull off that one huge job every con dreams of ... the Retirement Score. But some roads have twists even a professional getaway man couldn't foresee ...

Andrew Vachss, a writer widely acclaimed for breathing new life and death into the crime genre, here presents a classic noir tale, relentlessly displaying and dissecting not guilt, but innocence.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This slim retro-look paperback by crime master Vachss (Only Child; Pain Management) delivers the guilty pleasure of a dime novel, which means that although it is a few writerly steps up from a Dick Tracy comic, the emphasis is on action. Characterization is handled with a few deft strokes. As usual, Vachss, a lawyer who represents children and once directed a maximum-security prison for violent youth, suffuses his story with compassion for children and a razor-sharp outrage at their abusers. Here, Vachss takes us inside the mind of Eddie, a young man who has survived a string of incarcerations with his innocence seemingly intact. Dismissed as an idiot by a few seedy characters, he is prized for his loyalty and his unsurpassed ability behind the wheel by the big-time heist artist J.C. When he isn't customizing vehicles for the biggest heist of J.C.'s career, Eddie is happily ensconced in the barn behind J.C.'s cabin hideaway, watching videos that feature getaway driving. Enter J.C.'s girlfriend, Vonda, who just can't leave Eddie alone. Taking advantage of J.C.'s frequent overnight trips to work out the details of the big job in the offing, Vonda gets cozy with Eddie, confiding details of her abusive relationship with J.C. She becomes Eddie's secret girlfriend and inspires him to new heights of daring as a getaway driver. The surprise ending is so abrupt that it will cause most readers to jam on the brakes and wonder where the road went, but it's smooth sailing right up to the edge of the cliff.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Vachss takes a break from his popular Burke series to type a tribute to the Gold Medal pulp paperbacks of the 1950s and 1960s. Though it's a present-day noir like the Burke books, it's lighter in tone and steers clear of their dark subject matter. Eddie, the narrator, is a quiet, not-too-bright loner who loves to drive cars. Joyriding and a few stints in juvenile prisons lead him to hard time and hardened thugs who see potential in his single-minded loyalty--when Eddie's out front in the car, he waits until his partners come out, whether the cops are coming or not. After a few different gangs and adventures, he finds himself partnered with a tough ex-con planning the ultimate noir cliche: one last big score so they can all retire. This novel has all the standards, including stand-up guys, manipulative dames, double-crossing partners, and an aura of predestined failure that hangs over the proceedings like cigarette smoke in a waterfront bar. But Vachss gives it a nice twist by telling the tale from the point of view of the dim guy instead of the sharpster with all the angles. Except for a few slip-ups where Eddie uses too-nice wording ("a spring rain was slanting down"), or is almost too clueless to believe (he's never rented a video), it works. This should be a pleasant detour for both Vachss followers and fans of the genre. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Far From A One-Tracked Story Dec 8 2003
Format:Paperback
From a very early age Eddie only ever had one dream and that was to be a driver. This is the story of how he realised that dream and how he came to earn the respect of his peers, which was one of the few things in life he valued. It seems that it didn't matter how good or bad someone was according to Eddie, if they complimented him on his driving, then they were okay in his book.
Eddie makes a very interesting character. He was a mixture of extreme naivety when it came to common emotional issues, but he had an instinctive cunning when it came to survival. It gives him a much deeper level of complexity than was first apparent and is one of the great strengths of the book.
I found this to be a very quick read and is modelled off the old pulps of yesteryear, both in external appearance and in content. The writing is succinct and to the point and the story moves along at great pace before reaching a shattering conclusion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jim Thompson would be proud Nov. 10 2003
By D. Ross
Format:Paperback
Fan of tough-guy, noir-esque fiction? Enjoy the bleak, cynical tough-guys popularized by Chandler, Thompson and Willeford? Vacchs pays homage to all of them in _The Getaway Man_.
Eddie gets his start stealing cars but soon finds his true calling. Driving getaway cars for armed robbers. His reputation grows after a stoic performance during a bank heist gone bad. After release from prison, he hooks up with a solid career criminal, J.C. Naive - but completely dedicated to his craft - Eddie soon finds that his new pals come with a complicated set of questions.
I believe Jim Thompson would have thoroughly enjoyed _The Getaway Man_ and I look forward to Vacch's continued efforts in a pulp fiction revival.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vachss Returns with a Good One! Oct. 1 2003
Format:Paperback
His best since Shella. The Burke books were getting to be repetitive and Vachss a paraody of himself. This is good old time crime novel
fun, although Vachhs does not in some child abuse and vigalante
vengeance to keep up appearnces, covers some "same ol'" ground
here and there, and the ending you could see coming half-way
through the book (it's almost like an extended version of some
of his patent "twist" short stories). Still, Vachss is back. I was
afraid he'd lost his touch there for a while...
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5.0 out of 5 stars a dark gem Sept. 29 2003
Format:Paperback
Up until now, I've not been a Vachss fan, since I have usually found his Burke novels to be too over-the-top. But after reading The Getaway Man, I may have to reconsider. What the Getaway Man displays is an author who knows his genre. (My 5 stars is based upon a genre homerun -- The Getaway Man ain't Anna Karenina, but for what it is, it delivers.)
No need to go too much into plot and character, since so many have done so already. One comment however, Eddie is probably one of the more memorable crime-novel voices you will run across, right up there with Jim Thompson's Lou Ford -- though Eddie isn't evil, just sweetly loyal, up to a tragic point. With Vonda, his one strength in a hard world is turned against him. Probably the closest thing I've read to a Thompson novel, without being written by the master. There's no higher praise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It doesnt disappoint Sept. 9 2003
Format:Paperback
I loved this book. Most books I figure out the ending to, and I don't like that. If you don't want something predictable, you want to read this book. It's very well written in that it brought me into the story. It made me feel for Eddie, the getaway man. Like the rest of Mr. Vachss's books, this one did not disappoint.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Man, This Thing Sticks In Your Head Aug. 15 2003
Format:Paperback
At first I thought it was just a good guy against bad guy thing. And it is. But then I saw it was much deeper. It's kinda like those Bible stories. Like remember Adam and Eve? Cause what's good and bad isn't so easy to figure out. Watch your [butt], bro. The snake is always waiting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Let's hope this starts a trend June 21 2003
Format:Paperback
The reason this book appears to be so retro is that most of the current crime writers are trying to follow the editorial rules and transcend the genre. The notion is that you have to reach a broader audience: noir with suspense, noir with horror, noir with psychological thrills, noir with . . . whatever. How about noir straight up and in a dirty glass? Here it is. The REAL THING doesn't have to feel like a guilty pleasure. It's the REAL THING. So join Eddie and Vonda and J.C. and company on that dark road. You know right where it's going but you still can't stop reading.
Let's hope this starts a trend. What we need is a stable of solid writers of paperback originals. The world hasn't felt right since Donald Hamilton stopped writing. Thanks, Andrew, for reminding us how sweet it can be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great old-fashioned storytelling! June 21 2003
By "jdny"
Format:Paperback
This book is an obvious homage to the Gold Medal books of the 50's and a welcome return for those of us who yearn for those well-crafted tales of crime and criminals.
But being Vachss you just know there's a twist. Vachss has written a wonderful tale of innocence and highlighted in his inimitable style the characters that would abuse and use that innocence for their own gain. Vachss can convey more with a few words than most writers can in chapters. The prose is precise and searing and moves at a break neck pace towards an ending worthy of all the accolades that have been heaped on the book to date.
If you like a good story told with great style, you can't go wrong with this book. Highly recommended reading!
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