Friday, December 11, 2009

Review of The Wheelman by Duane Swierczynski (St Martin’s Minotaur, 2005)

The heist was doomed from the start. Holden and Bling get caught in the doors to the bank and Lennon is forced to reverse the getaway car into vestibule to free them. Driving away he ploughs into a woman with a pram. Five minutes later they have dumped the car, leaving their haul inside, and swapped vehicles. Two minutes after that they are flip-flopping across the street having been rammed from the side, and are left for dead. Only Lennon isn’t prepared to give up on the loot so soon. In very short order he’s tangled up in a game of deals, counter-deals, and double crosses with the Russian mob, Italian mafia, and bent cops, all intent on revenge and the ill-gotten gains.

If I had some spare cash waiting for an investment opportunity I would have sought to buy the movie rights to The Wheelman within the first thirty pages of starting. The novel starts at a ferocious pace and never lets up, driven by snappy dialogue and taut action, with almost every scene containing a twist. In fact I can’t remember a story with so many twists and turns, with double, triple and more crosses, as every character seeks to get the better of the others in the hunt for the stolen money. In so doing, Swierczynski drags the principle character, Lennon, through the wringer, so that although he’s no saint you can’t put help root for the guy. The book is not without its faults – for example, a couple of the scenes lack credibility notably the first scene at the pipe – but ultimately it doesn’t matter. The Wheelman is a rollercoaster of a book. I loved it from first page to last. I need the next Swierczynski book right NOW!

No comments: