Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The greatest getaway drivers in contemporary crime fiction

Nick Kolakowski’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, North American Review, and Carrier Pigeon, among other venues.

His latest novel is Rattlesnake Rodeo.

Kolakowski lives in New York City.

At CrimeReads he tagged "five crime novels that explore the darker side of the American road, filled with anti-heroes looking for one last shot at fulfilling their dreams—if they can survive the next few miles." One title on the list:
The Wheelman, by Duane Swierczynski

Some noir protagonists stay alive through sheer luck. Others do so because they’re stronger and more aggressive than the people sent to take them down. In the case of Lennon, antihero of The Wheelman, survival hinges on an incredible amount of ingenuity, combined with a Road Runner-like refusal to quit driving, running, and/or shooting. It’s fiery and bloody and madcap in equal measure, the thematic polar opposite of an elegiac, wages-of-sin novel like Jim Thompson’s The Getaway.

Like many a fictional getaway driver before him, Lennon just wants his slice of the American Dream, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get it (he’s also incredibly meticulous, tracing out his routes for maximum success). Stillness is his enemy just as much as bullets.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Wheelman.

--Marshal Zeringue