Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Getaway

The GetawayThe Getaway by Jim Thompson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Doc McCoy, Rudy "Piehead" Torrento, and an accomplice rob the Beacon City Bank and immediately begin double crossing each other. Can Doc McCoy and his wife make it to Mexico before Torrento takes them down or the police catch them?

The Getaway it the tale of a bank heist and its aftermath, told in Jim Thompson's bleak style. Actually, it's really light compared to the other four Thompson's I've read up to this point, more akin to Richard Stark's Parker series than The Killer Inside me. Doc McCoy is a planner and a smooth operator, always ready for a hitch. His wife, Carol, is more like him than either of them care to admit.

The twists kept coming. I was pretty surprised when Torrento turned up alive and again when the thief stole the bag containing the money at the train station. The flight into Mexico was pretty harrowing. How many crime novels have you read that feature the protagonists hiding in holes in the ground or under a big pile of manure?

"So why only a 3?" you ask. Well, while I respect The Getaway as one of the early heist stories and I'm already a Thompson fan, I just didn't enjoy it that much. The writing was up to par but after reading so many of Richard Stark's Parker books and The Wheelman by Duane Swierczynski, it just wasn't that great. It's still a good read but it's definitely a second tier Thompson book, more akin to Savage Night or After Dark, My Sweet, than to The Killer Inside Me or Pop. 1280.

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