Friday, June 08, 2012

Here Ye Here Ye, a Buena Park Library District New Book

Driven by James Sallis

Released April 2012

If you're a fan of the film, Drive, which was based on the novel of the same name by James Sallis, then you will be a fan of the sequel, DrivenIt delivers more neo-noir, with its minimalist plot, short vignette-like chapters, and poetic-yet-street-tough dialogue.  For all those wondering if The Driver lives at the end of the original, yes, he does!  Seven years have passed putting the murders of Nino and Bernie Rose behind him and he is actually trying to live on the straight and narrow as he now goes by the fictitious name of Paul West.  The novel grabs you from the first page when his fiance, Elsa, is murdered by a couple of hitmen and all hell breaks loose.  The Driver goes back to his old habits sinking back into anonymity, and with the help of his friend, the ex-gangbanger Felix, The Driver seeks his revenge.  The Driver also confronts his past in more ways than one with the help of his friend from the first novel, the eccentric screenwriter Manny (whom he shares ridiculous conversations with), and newcomers such as the "fixer" James Beil, who shares an important connection with him, The Driver's platonic girlfriend Billie, and her father, the ex-cop Bill.  One of the strong points is that Sallis creates these mysterious characters, yet they are beautifully etched with crisp dialogue where you feel that you know them already.  But the best part is that The Driver's past comes back to haunt him as one by one, various hitmen go after him and one by one they falter, and I might say, in detailed fashion, almost as if Sallis really enjoyed describing how they were dispatched.  And of course, there is a lot of driving, whether it's a car chase, working in a garage, or taking a spin around town.  At just 147 pages, Driven can almost be considered a novella; every word counts.  And even though it can be hard to keep up at times as the plot is chopped up in a non-linear fashion including flashbacks from the first novel and concealed descriptions, it is definitely worth the read where you really get to see the perseverance of what The Driver is made of; he is driven.

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