Not Comin' Home to You by Lawrence Block
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jimmie John Hall was a no good drifter and irresistible to Betty Dienhardt, friendless high school girl. It was just too bad about the killing spree...
First off, Lawrence Block is the man. His Matthew Scudder series is in my crime series top three, along with Richard Stark's Parker books and Joe Lansdale's Hap and Leonard series. When I stumbled upon this, a book of his I'd never heard of, I snapped it up.
Not Comin' Home to You, named after a line in a Waylon Jennings song, was inspired by the true story of Charles Starkweather, one of the first spree killers. From what I've gathered, Starkweather was also one of the inspirations for Natural Born Killers, if anyone still remembers that flick.
The tale is a pretty simple one. A sociopath that takes a hell of a lot of speed meets up with a lonely girl and does a lot of driving and killing. The thing that raises this above lesser killing spree books and movies is the way Block tells the story. While the chapters are pretty straightforward, they are separated by one or two page accounts by people who were involved with the events years after they occurred. Most are of the "He seemed like such a nice boy, always kept to himself" variety but they do a good job of foreshadowing of the coming shitstorm.
There isn't much else I can say. It's a slim book about a killing spree. Not that complicated. Lawrence Block's talent is what keeps it from being a two star book. Not my favorite Block but it's definitely worth a rainy evening's reading time.
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