Monday, February 11, 2013

Review of Piggyback by Tom Pitts (Snubnose Press, 2012)

Jimmy prides himself on being a pro in a business full of fools and fuck-ups who can’t keep their hands off the merchandise.  Paul is such a fuck-up.  He’s recruited two college girls to courier a shipment of weed to Utah, failing to tell them that they’re piggybacking five kilos of cocaine.  Only the girls have disappeared and so have the drugs.  Paul’s ruthless boss, Jose, doesn’t like fuck-ups, and he likes losing his drugs even less.  Desperate to recover the haul before Jose notices, Paul turns up at Jimmy’s apartment seeking help.  Jimmy agrees on condition of receiving a slice of the recovered goods and the pair set off from San Francisco on a road trip across northern California on the trail of the girls.  It should be a straightforward exercise - find the girls, recover the drugs - but things rarely go to plan when Paul is involved.

Piggyback is a short, sharp blast of a read; a noir novella with snappy dialogue, a relentless pace, cinematic visuals, and strongly etched characters.  The whole story has the feel of a movie narrative; indeed it would make a good film given its Tarrantinoesque qualities.  Jimmy and Paul make for an interesting double act: strong and thoughtful paired with weak, skittish and easily distracted; and the small cast of other characters are well penned.  The plotting is tight with a strong story arc, fashioned through a series of minor twists of fate leading to a very noir ending.  I was gripped from the first page and tore through it in one entertaining sitting.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sounds brilliant, Rob. Thanks.