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Editorial Reviews

Nic Pizzolatto has had a very respectable run as a writer of short stories, and this is his first effort at committing to a somewhat longer project. His main character, Roy Cady, is in much the same situation as the author. Roy has had a distinguished career as a bag man for a heavy duty criminal who owns a bar in the French Quarter, but when Roy discovers Stan wishes to prematurely and violently terminate their relationship, he is forced into plotting a long term escape back to Galveston. Narrating this classy character portrait punctuated by suspenseful spurts of action is veteran Michael Kramer, whose hard-boiled voicework has made the rounds on over a hundred other audiobooks to date.
Despite Roy's best intentions to hide out and then clean up his act, there are several things getting in the way in a major way. For example, the day Stan puts a hit out on him is the same day he learns he is also being killed by some blotches on an x-ray of his lungs. Hacking and coughing his way through the attempt on his life, he ends up saddled with a sneaky young hooker. Maybe he can clean up both their acts and come out a hero, but the weights keep piling on. The hooker stops to pick up her 3-year-old sister, there's a junky thief who tempts Roy into a risky job, they all stay in a cheap motel full of nosy old ladies keeping on eye on Roy's every move, and the truck's glove box contains a pile of papers detailing some illegal activities that could help Roy make a pile of money if he lets Stan know he's still alive.
Michael Kramer is just the man to tell this tale, which is really the inner monologue of a conflicted man who struggles to do right in the face of the baggage and demons that keep popping up from his past. Soaked in booze and southern swagger, Kramer keeps a tight hold on Roy's frustratedly optimistic musings, such that even his poor choices are ultimately charming ones. Pizzolatto, who grew up in Louisiana, has produced a terrific character sketch that Kramer embodies to deliver with ease. —Megan Volpert
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Publisher's Summary

From the creator, writer, and executive producer of the HBO series True Detective and soon to be a major motion picture comes a dark and visceral novel set along the wastelands of Galveston.
On the same day that Roy Cady is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he senses that his boss, a dangerous loan-sharking bar-owner, wants him dead. Roy is alert to the possibility that a routine assignment could be a deathtrap. Yet what the would-be killers do to Roy Cady is not the same as what he does to them, and after a smoking spasm of violence, they are mostly dead and he is mostly alive.
Before Roy makes his getaway, he realizes there are two women in the apartment, one of them still breathing, and he sees something in her frightened, defiant eyes that causes a fateful decision. He takes her with him as he goes on the run from New Orleans to Galveston, Texas—an action as ill-advised as it is inescapable. The girl's name is Rocky, and she is too young, too tough, too sexy—and far too much trouble. Roy, Rocky, and her sister hide in the battered seascape of Galveston's country-western bars and seedy hotels, a world of treacherous drifters, pickup trucks, and ashed-out hopes.
Recalling the moody violence of the early novels of Cormac McCarthy and Denis Johnson, this powerful, potent, and atmospheric thriller is impossible to put down.
©2010 Nic Pizzolatto (P)2010 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Impressive.... Pizzolatto's insightful portrayal of the heroic Roy...is rough and tumble real." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Stephanie on 11-17-12

Richly Layered

This is a book that can be enjoyed on so many levels. The writing is first rate and the narrator couldn't be more perfect for the story. It is a pretty decent noir-type crime story but succeeds the most as a rich character study of a flawed man.

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18 of 18 people found this review helpful


By Curt on 05-07-11

A Great Read

This is a terrific book. I read a review of the novel, I believe, in the NYTimes before making the purchase. It described the book as possessing a rare combination of exceptional story-line and writing that rises to the level of literature. I couldn't agree more.

Add a perfect narrator to the audio version of the text and you have something rather special.

Over the past several years, I have listened to who knows how many books -- a lot. Only three have caused me to sit in my car to continue listening after arriving at my destination. This is one of the three books. (I even had someone at my office tap on my window to make sure that everything was okay.)

Final note: I wondered if it was just me, so I purchased the CD version and asked a friend to give the book a listen. He reports that he listened to Galveston twice. During the second listen, he noted that the quality of the writing -- especially the subtle foreshadowing of what was to come -- was even better than he initially thought. The book became richer and more complex the second time around.

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28 of 29 people found this review helpful

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