Friday, March 7, 2014


GalvestonGalveston by Nic Pizzolatto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When terminally ill mob thug Roy Cady is instructed to do a job without taking bringing a gun, he gets suspicious. The situation goes south and soon Roy is on the run with a packet of important papers and an 18 year old sex kitten named Rocky. What will kill Roy first? The cancer or the mob?

Like everyone reading Galveston these days, I love HBO's True Detective, the best thing since sliced Breaking Bad. I'd planned to wait until the series wrapped before reading it but I finally said piss on it. Why kill time reading something else when I've got Galveston at my fingertips?

Fans of True Detective won't be disappointed. Galveston is a noir detective tale but it's also a story about getting older and looking death in the face. As he runs with Rocky and her sister TIffany in tow, Roy is forced to think back on all the mistakes he's made. Not to say it's still not a crime book. It very much is, from the job at the beginning to Roy protecting his charges to some stomach churning brutality near the end.

There are a few things Galveston has in common with True Detective and it's clear Pizzolatto had his masterpiece in mind even while he was working on Galveston, the scoundrel. Cady has an army of soldiers on his coffee table made from spent Miller High Life cans on his coffee table. He also ponders the nature of stories, time, and death a fair amount. There's also another element that they have in common but I'm not going to spoil that one.

Roy is something of a beer can philosopher akin to Pizzolatto's later creation, Rustin Cohle. He has quite a few quotable lines, most of which deal with getting older. "The last new song you liked came out a long, long time ago, and the radio never plays it anymore."

Roy's relationship with Rocky and Tiffany does a lot to show what a nuanced character he is, with his conflicted feelings about Rocky and love for her sister (or is it daughter) Tiffany. All the lead characters are completely different people by the end of the novel. The ending almost squeezed a few man tears out of me but I manned up and powered through it.

True Detective fans, have no fear. Galveston will be the methadone to your True Detective heroin. Five out of five stars.

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  1. Glad you powered through the man tears; it would have been an unbecoming sight! I'm also glad that "True Detective" is drawing so much attention to this book, which probably didn't get the attention it deserved when it was released.

  2. They should have re-released it to coincide with the show. I couldn't find a paperback anywhere so I went with the ebook.