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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.
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
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,... Read morePublished on Dec 8 2003 by Untouchable
Fan of tough-guy, noir-esque fiction? Enjoy the bleak, cynical tough-guys popularized by Chandler, Thompson and Willeford? Read morePublished on Nov. 10 2003 by D. Ross
His best since Shella. The Burke books were getting to be repetitive and Vachss a paraody of himself. Read morePublished on Oct. 1 2003 by Ann M Eadie
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. Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2003 by S. Harris
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. Read morePublished on Sept. 9 2003 by Amazon Customer
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? Read morePublished on Aug. 14 2003 by Oliver Towne
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. Read morePublished on June 21 2003 by Richard B. Schwartz
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. Read morePublished on June 21 2003
Perfect control of language, seamlessly written, Vachss makes no mistakes here. It's like reading James Cain again, only better. Classic noir lives! Read morePublished on May 24 2003 by Dan Allison