Tuesday, May 19, 2009

book review: nobody move by denis johnson

Nobody Move is the story of interconnected characters in the California desert. Jimmy Luntz is a gambler deep in the whole to his bookie, Gambol is the man sent to inflict physical harm to get the money, Juarez is the king of this underworld, and Anita Desilvera is an alcoholic and soon-to-be-divorced woman convicted of embezzlement who happens upon Jimmy. It's a motley cast of characters, and the cover's gunshots holes are a good indicator of the amount of violence.

Denis Johnson is a gifted writer; no one disputes this fact. The characters are intriguing, and there is suspense of sorts, but somehow it didn't all come together for me. Perhaps my own cynicism led me to believe their futures to be bleak and inevitable and I didn't fully embrace the characters. I usually adore noir, but I was ambivalent about this one. It's a brief book, less than 200 pages, and it seems to beg for a movie rather than a book. I wanted to like it more than I did, although I did enjoy reading it (except for one completely unnecessary, disgusting scene that would not have been out of place in a cheap teen comedy).

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

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