Dennis TafoyaвЂ™s first novel, DOPE THIEF, published in 2009 is an excellent novel and more emotional of a book than I thought it would or could be. Ray, a young man of 30 who has spent time in вЂњJuvieвЂќ and prison for much of his life, has found a way to get some money with his friend Manny by stealing from independent drug dealers. These mostly small-time dealers are unlikely to seek help from the police or the mob in getting back their money or drugs. Ray and Manny even have the DEA jackets to scare the dealers into submitting to them. This seems like a good deal for Ray and Manny until they find much more money and drugs than they expected from some hick drug dealers working out of a farm in northern Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Steve Abee has created, in JOHNNY FUTURE, a character with a unique voice and energy. He represents a blend of a hyper-urbanized Holden Caulfield, sassy and street-smart, with a big-hearted and wide-eyed Huck Finn. It is no small matter that I compare Johnny Future, the character, with these two icons of American literature. I find him that compelling, his voice that unrelenting. It is a voice that becomes less concise and more shrill in the latter half of the novel, but that is to be expected, given the course of events. What else would you expect from a guy named Future, with a hooker girlfriend named America, a buddy named Jesus and sidekick called Beast? But I am getting ahead of myself.
NOBODY MOVE, Denis JohnsonвЂ™s first novel since his National Book Award-winning Tree of Smoke in 2007, is a complete change of pace from that novel, which focuses on the Vietnam War. Here, Johnson sets his novel in Northern California in contemporary times, creating a noir study of drug-addled, alcoholic criminals who donвЂ™t have a clue about reality as they seek riches and revenge.