Midnight Cab Hardcover – Feb 12 2002
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
Can't wait for the next one!
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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.
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!
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.
Can't wait for the next one!