Scribner, $15.00, 258 pages, ISBN 978-1-4391-6666-6
Tough guys . . . that’s the subject of this weeks MBR number twenty-two. Now. I realize when I wrote the preceding sentence, that every one of you readers out there remember a tough guy, or gal, know a tough person or two . . . heck, maybe you are a tough individual with the chops to prove it. But I’m referring to a fictional tough guy, a thug and career criminal who’s running for his life in a gem of a first novel titled Galveston, written by Nic Pizzolatto.
Roy “Big Country” Cody is the protagonist’s name, and the novel opens in New Orleans on the day he finds out that he has a terminal illness with about a year left to live. On the evening of the same day, while on a job, he finds out that his employer, a vicious crime boss without scruples or mercy, intends to have him killed. After an incredibly violent scene however, four assassins and three others lie dead, but Cody and a young girl are still alive. He flees for his life, taking the girl with him and the relentless chase begins in a novel Dennis Lehane called “The best roman noir I’ve read in a decade.” The prose is written with a fluid, dark and atmospheric tension that will keep you reading until, all too soon, the last page turns up. This one is so noir it finds a “terrible beauty” in its bleakness. I liked it, and I’m looking forward to whatever Pizzolatto comes up with next.