Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Wheelman

This book is a little different than the science fiction and fantasy I usually read. Sometimes I like to spread out to different genres. I had heard that The Wheelman was a good book and would appeal to fans of Charlie Huston's vampire series so I decided to pick it up.

Lennon is a mute Irish getaway driver when a job he is working goes bad. Left for dead, Lennon tries to get back to the money while finding out who betrayed him and his partners. He soon crosses guns with seemly every criminal in town, from the Russian and Italian mobs to crooked cops to small-time gangsters looking to score big. Everyone wants the money, however the situation is compounded by the fact that nobody can find it.

The Wheelman is a short, fast-paced, gritty crime novel. It comes in at barely over two hundred pages and almost never lets up so the reader practically reads by the seat of their pants. The book also certainly earns the “gritty” adjective. Everyone is out for themselves, double-, triple-, and quadruple-crossing everyone else. With people dropping like flies, the body count stacks rather quickly rather like a chain reaction. Pretty much no is safe from the author’s writing axe. 

If you don’t like protagonists with shade of grey then this book is not for you. As a getaway driver for bank robbers, Lennon is admittedly not the straightest of characters. However he is forced to make hard choices that would make even hardened criminals squeamish. The only real problem I had with the book was that I found it a little hard to believe Lennon could survive all the physical damage he takes. He’s passed off as a real tough guy, but there aren’t any supernatural elements in the novel so he really should died early on. But it’s not that big a deal and the book is definitely good reading. 

Fans of hard, fast crime, and more specifically, fans of the Joe Pitt series, will like The Wheelman. However, if you’re not into grey characters that sometimes do bad things, this book will not be for you. Recommended. 

Rating: 8.5/10.

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