Galveston: A Novel

Galveston: A Novel

3.8 48
by Nic Pizzolatto
     
 

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From the creator, writer, and executive producer of the HBO crime series True Detective, comes a dark and visceral literary debut set along the seedy wastelands of Galveston.

On the same day that Roy Cady is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he senses that his boss, a dangerous loan-sharking bar-owner, wants him dead. Known “without

Overview

From the creator, writer, and executive producer of the HBO crime series True Detective, comes a dark and visceral literary debut set along the seedy wastelands of Galveston.

On the same day that Roy Cady is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he senses that his boss, a dangerous loan-sharking bar-owner, wants him dead. Known “without affection” to members of the boss’s crew as “Big Country” on account of his long hair, beard, and cowboy boots, Roy is alert to the possibility that a routine assignment could be a deathtrap. Which it is. Yet what the would-be killers do to Roy Cady is not the same as what he does to them, which is to say that after a smoking spasm of violence, they are mostly dead and he is mostly alive.

Before Roy makes his getaway, he realizes there are two women in the apartment, one of them still breathing, and he sees something in her frightened, defiant eyes that causes a fateful decision. He takes her with him as he goes on the run from New Orleans to Galveston, Texas—an action as ill-advised as it is inescapable. The girl’s name is Rocky, and she is too young, too tough, too sexy—and far too much trouble. Roy, Rocky, and her sister hide in the battered seascape of Galveston’s country-western bars and fleabag hotels, a world of treacherous drifters, pickup trucks, and ashed-out hopes. Any chance that they will find safety there is soon lost. Rocky is a girl with quite a story to tell, one that will pursue and damage Roy for a very long time to come.

Recalling the moody violence of the early novels of Cormac McCarthy and Denis Johnson, this powerful, potent, and atmospheric thriller is impossible to put down. Constructed with maximum tension and haunting aftereffect, written in darkly beautiful prose, Galveston announces the arrival of a major new literary talent.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
For a mob enforcer and a teenage whore on the run, there's no escaping the violent past; this first novel follows a story collection (Between Here and the Yellow Sea, 2006). Violence shadowed Roy Cady's childhood in East Texas. His alcoholic father fell to his death; his mother killed herself. She had worked for a bar owner and racketeer, and at 17 Roy started working for him too. Eventually he moved to New Orleans and became the muscle for another racketeer, Stan Ptitko. Now it's 1987, and 40-year-old Roy is reeling from a lung-cancer diagnosis; he's convinced it's terminal. Stan sends him to intimidate a corrupt union official, but it's a setup; Stan wants him dead. Roy survives a furious shootout and flees, taking along blond 18-year-old Rocky, another Texan. She's a runaway who's just started turning tricks. Driving west, she persuades Roy to stop at a secluded cabin and emerges with her baby sister Tiffany. Here the story line frays as we peek into Roy's future; 20 years on, he's a cancer survivor, rendering pointless his earlier end-of-life crisis. And the fast-forward doesn't resolve Pizzolatto's dilemma-whether to write a pulpy crime story or a tale of the spiritual salvation of an ex-con. It seems like the latter as Roy plays the Good Samaritan, checking the girls into a Galveston motel. But then he drives to Dallas for a reunion with an old flame, now happily married. It's a devastating encounter. Shrewd, mature Loraine demolishes Roy's romantic memories, recalling him as an angry, jealous, resentful lover. Back in Galveston, the crime element resurfaces. Roy strangles a motel neighbor, a junkie and potential blackmailer. He then tries some blackmail himself, threatening Stan;his weapon is some incriminating paperwork he'd retrieved from that New Orleans crime scene. The result is catastrophic, for Roy and Rocky both. An unsatisfying split-personality novel redeemed by some terrific dialogue.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439166673
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
06/15/2010
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
63,804
File size:
2 MB

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Meet the Author

Nic Pizzolatto is the creator, writer, and executive producer of the HBO crime series True Detective. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, The Oxford American, The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Best American Mystery Stories, and other publications. His written work has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and his story collection Between Here and the Yellow Sea was named by Poets & Writer’s Magazine as one of the top five fiction debuts of the year. He lives in Los Angeles. Galveston is his first novel.

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Galveston 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
The-Good-Fari More than 1 year ago
I think this editorial review (which grabbed me) speaks of my opinion. "Galveston is a roman noir to its scuffed boot heels. If there's a guiding principle that whispers in the ear of every reader of great noir, it's this: Things will not end well." —-Dennis Lehane, The New York Times
OrangeJulius More than 1 year ago
Galveston is a very good read, it precisely captures the forlorn nature of the Texas gulf coast while introducing you to characters you feel like you have seen in life but never known. Roy "Big Country" Cady and Rocky are those people. The author peels back layers of their past and you wonder if you will get to know them well enough before henchman and hurricanes get there first. The character development with Roy made me think of that old adage, "everybody's got a story..."
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1987 forty year old tough guy mob enforcer Roy "Big Country" Cady had always believed nothing could harm him. He grew up in Texas only to watch his father fall to his death and his mother commit suicide. He took a job with his late dad's boss as a local enforcer and moved on to New Orleans. Now he learns differently as he finds out he has lung cancer. Before he can cope, Roy's boss mobster Stan Ptitko assigns him a simple task; however Big Country senses something is not right and cautiously assumes he is being set up for a hit. His hunch proves right and so does his vigilance. Roy took out the hitmen the old fashion way by killing them while rescuing teenage whore Raquel "Rocky" Arceneaux. He takes her with him as he leaves New Orleans for his hometown Galveston. On the way Rocky convinces Roy to pick up her three years old sister Tiffany in remote Orange. He takes the two girls to Galveston where he puts them up in a motel while he becomes a one man crime wave who plans to finish by extorting money from his former fuming employer. This is a terrific redemption tale as Roy the hard boiled killer tries to become the savior of two young females. The story line is filled with vivid gory action but character driven by mostly Roy, but to a lesser degree Rocky who the hitman hopes to save so that he has some solace before he dies. Although the segue involving two decades into the future take away from a powerful end of life effort to do the right thing one time in one's life, fans will relish the visit to Galveston. Harriet Klausner
Jen_Ims More than 1 year ago
If you like your protagonists deeply flawed yet still sympathetic, read this.
Dejaleed More than 1 year ago
Roy Cady is a murderous criminal who has a heart. You want to spend an evening or two drinking with him. Despite the horrible dramas of his physical disease and graphic details of personal violence, you want to be there with him, to dress his wounds and take care of him. Any other such felon would be completely rash and uncaring, but Roy keeps coming back to care for an eighteen-year-old nymph, fighting over the expected urges to have easy sex with her and grappling with the long-term implications of such a lie. He knows he's going to die of cancer, so his judgment is skewed by the immediacy of his predicament: throw caution to the wind, or act responsibly? He goes through hell on earth, simply because he believes that there is no hell in the next world, and his life is arguably worthless. But he goes on, and on, for a borrowed twenty years that is the framework of the novel. The author volleys us back and forth effectively between the two eras, letting us know just enough about each to keep us intrigued. Excruciating descriptions of physical suffering are interspersed with exquisite descriptions of the back roads of the unfolding Texas landscape. I can't stop thinking about Roy and "Rocky."
bookluvrFC More than 1 year ago
I got interested in Nic Pizzolatto after viewing Season 1 of True Detective. It was a gritty, compelling series with one of the main characters being the deep South. The Galveston novel which followed contains the same gritty quality, a compelling story, and again, the deep South atmosphere. The main character is unusual and his relationship with a young girl is at first glance hard to believe, but definitely plausible given the psychological characteristics of the characters. I was drawn in by the excellent writing, and cared very much about what might happen to this unlikely pair. Pizzolatto's wealth of insights throughout the book show the depth and sensitiviy of this author. I highly recommend this book.
NerdLuv More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written. 
Anonymous 8 months ago
The complexity that you appreciate in td shows up here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read!
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Worth it.
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