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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True page-turner
So a few nights ago I was wandering around my home town, singing the theme from True Detective at the top of my lungs and wondering what the hell happened to my Batman pyjamas. An acoustic accompaniment surged up from the brickwork and echoed along the inky blackness of the Leeds/Liverpool like the ghosts of dead navvies playing for their souls. And then I woke up, lurid...
Published 5 months ago by Michael Finn

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, good - but . . .
Well-written book, certainly held my interest, but a bit gory for me in places - and as another reviewer has said, a very bittersweet ending!
Published 1 day ago by cicely93


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True page-turner, 14 Mar 2014
By 
Michael Finn (Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Galveston (Kindle Edition)
So a few nights ago I was wandering around my home town, singing the theme from True Detective at the top of my lungs and wondering what the hell happened to my Batman pyjamas. An acoustic accompaniment surged up from the brickwork and echoed along the inky blackness of the Leeds/Liverpool like the ghosts of dead navvies playing for their souls. And then I woke up, lurid trouserware restored. You can't get away from Nic Pizzolatto's enthralling tv series even in the embrace of Morpheus. Having reached episode three, further research revealed the writer and brainchild behind the series had written a fairly well received novel. So here it is. It tells the story of Roy Cady or rather Roy tells his own story. He's a bagman for a New Orleans loan shark named Stan Ptitko. Roy gets a double life changing alarm call in the shape of lung cancer and an attempt to set him up for the big sleep by his own boss. What our unreliable narrator steers our gaze away from is just how bad a man Roy Cady is, his job description often going way beyond threats with menaces. Roy is very good at making other people dead. He survives his date with death, killing everyone at the double cross and along with the only other survivor, a young prostitute, the two of them hit the road.
It would be a stretch to describe the book as a crime thriller though it certainly occupies the framework of a crime novel but like its protagonist it wants to be something else. Pizzolatto is far more committed to exploring human nature. Roy is the archetypal killer. It's the man's one true tallent. And he wants to change. Wants to draw a line. He's confronted with his own mortality which forces him to look into the shadows of his own character. He sees the young prostitute, Rocky, as being something still unminted. She's the vamp - the femme fatale but Roy still sees the archetypal ingenue or at least the possibility. If he can't save himself, then maybe he can save her. But Rocky has her own dark secrets and motivations that confound Roy's expectations. The crime novel has never been a genre that disregarded the philosophical but generally it would be used to colour the narrative and add depth and substance to the characters, rather than actually being the focus, with the plot and narrative falling behind to mere backdrop. There are some big ideas and complex philosophical conundrums going on that Galvaston with its always sunny beach and Motel populated with broken or lost humanity, somehow serves up the time to explore them in a pulp sized burp of fiction. And like in True Detective, Pizzolatto uses the passage of time to show a more complete picture of the life tracks involved. People change and one smiling snapshot in the sun tells nothing at all. The author's writing is insightful, colourful, entertaining and challenging. Some of the early chapters are filled with some eyebrow lifting metaphor and imagery but it soon gets reigned in as Pizzolatto finds his stride. A true page turner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply disturbing, 21 April 2014
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This review is from: Galveston (Paperback)
Roy Cady has never really belonged to society. After his stepfather died his mother didn't really exist and he was drawn into a shady world of illegal bookmaking and criminality. Graduating to become an enforcer for a Louisiana crime boss Roy does what he has to do to survive fuelled by alcohol. Diagnosed with terminal lung cancer Roy is sent to do a job which is actually a set-up, his boss wants him out. Against the odds Roy survives and goes on the run with Rocky, a teenage prostitute he rescues from the scene. Travelling to Galveston Roy is forced to confront reality as he tries to help Rocky and her little 'sister' Tiffany. Unfortunately the past catches up with him and he is lucky to escape with his life.

Slipping between the present day where Roy is now a drifter and the violence of his past this novel is very reflective. Did Roy ever stand a chance? A final meeting with the now adult Tiffany shows him that he managed to help one good thing happen in his life.

Nic Pizzalotto is the writer of an acclaimed TV series 'True Murder' and often screenwriters find it difficult to transfer their ideas from picture to narrative. Pizzalotto doesn't have this problem. The writing is spare, the story compelling and, whilst there is a sense of redemption, there's no happy ending as such. A brilliant novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Galveston, oh Galveston,, 21 May 2014
By 
Chris Pearson - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Galveston (Hardcover)
Set mainly in 1987 this award-winning first novel by the creator of HBO's True Detective (not seen it) is a terrific read.

In the first few chapters the action moves quickly before changing pace, allowing the characters backstories, personalities and the plot to develop.

It's a story about Roy Cody. A hit-man with cancer and a drink problem. His girlfriend leaves him for his mobster boss, and Roy subsequently finds himself taking on a job for him that goes wrong, and he has to run- taking a teenage prostitute with him.

They head out of Louisiana for Texas, and ultimately, Galveston.

What follows is the story of people brought together by loss, tragedy and rejection. Cody remains on the run, haunted by his past, living his life out amongst out-casts and mis-fits, trying to second guess how long he can hold out against his condition and circumstances.

The description of the South is as cinematic as you'd expect from a screenwriter. You feel the intensity of the southern heat, the vastness of the plains, the trashiness of the port towns along the coast and the bleached weariness of the Emerald Shores Motel.

Things don't end well, but the thing that keeps you turning the page and caring for these characters are the glimpses of humanity they all exhibit.

These aren't cardboard noir cut-outs, but well-drawn characters wrapped up in a cracking read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Road is no Escape, 3 May 2014
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This review is from: Galveston (Kindle Edition)
Anyone expecting this to be like True Detective will be disappointed. That being said, this is a fantastic book and anyone who has seen the show will recognize similar themes and images running throughout, minus the occult.

I chose the title of this review from the book's tag line for a simple reason. The idea of the past following us down whichever road we take in life.
Themes of redemption, violence, abuse and memory populate a book filled with complicated characters, each struggling to make their way in life. All are damaged in some way. Some try to do the right thing and it is this conflict Pizzolatto depicts in all its ugliness. The struggle with ourselves, as much as with forces from the outside.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cady's Redemption, 21 July 2014
This review is from: Galveston (Paperback)
Nic Pizzolatto's first novel is a foray into noir, but with a decided religious undertone. Roy Cady is a shady tough who finds himself in the crosshairs of his sadistic New Orleans boss for reasons to numerous to mention (especially screwing Carmen, now the boss's moll). He is set up to be killed in a shootout but comes out on top, and escapes to Texas with a recued waif. To make matters worse, he has just found out he has terminal cancer.Raquel the teenage prostitute(called Rocky) has more baggage than Samsonite, and Cady falls into saving her (and her three year old daughter) from a life beyond awful. As you can imagine, it ain't easy.

But it's not the whole story. Like his debut short stories, this novel has a deep spiritual side. This makes Galveston different from most other noir novels which occur in a totally immoral world. Pizzolatto's world is full of sinners and not many saints. But Cady reveals himself as a good man underneath his murderous exterior. He decides to do right, and is severely tested in the process. He does not die, as foretold, but comes close to death. After 20 years, his good deeds pay dividends at last, and he is redeemed. To tell more is to ruin the story.

Pizzolatto writes beautifully throughout without touching the elegance of his short stories. It's a different genre, one that is blunter and tougher. Galveston comes across as less intellectual that True Detective and his short stories. But the talent is there, the sheer writing ability, and so is what he has to say about people. We are all drawn into sin, and its up to us how we deal with it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer poetry...Pizzolatto is to the deep south as Steinbeck was to the dust bowl, 4 Mar 2014
This review is from: Galveston (Kindle Edition)
Incredible style of writing. Pizzolatto transforms your surroundings. You are there in Galveston..you can taste the salt sorry and smell the story. It is a graphic novel in words. I can honestly say this writer is goldust. Tragic, beaten down , anti hero takes you to places you really don't want to go. TREMENDOUS.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hard as nails, 9 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Galveston (Paperback)
IT’S in your head already, isn’t? That Glen Campbell song of the same title. Pizzolatto very likely knew that when he penned this tidy gem that’s as black as the stuff that oozes out of the Texas soil.

He’s the guy who wrote the telly series True Detective so he knows how to hook an audience. And in this hard-as-nails number of criminal, borderline white trash in the Southern States he grabs you by the heart, head and netters.

It tells the story of a cancer-ravaged bagman who fights his way out of a lethal set-up by his crook boss and winds up on the run with a tragic young hooker. Shacked up in a seaside motel he’s torn between sticking with the babe and the young girl she’s brought with her or skinning out. It all hangs on a bid to blackmail his old boss, a high stakes game.

A bit into the fifth chapter you’re brought up short with the question in your brain ‘how is this guy still alive?’ And you’ll still be
asking it by the last page.

This is dark, seedy, gritty stuff... you’ll suck up the smoke and the whisky and the taut, tough writing. And yes, it owes more than a little to that bloomin' song.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars almost made it, 4 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Galveston (Kindle Edition)
I had high hopes for Galveston. The tags are all there. The awards, nominations and reviews collected. The ball is in my park. It almost lived up to my expectations, too, only just not quite.
I have some mixed feelings about the book. I feel that the word-for-word writing is very good. That each vignette is well crafted and pitched in the required tone for the moment, this usually being in the minor key.
The central characters are strong and interesting and their lives haven’t been easy. I can say this because there’s plenty of back-story to back this up.
There’s also a pretty good plot in there. Hard man working for the mob falls foul of his bosses, is set up and manages to get out of a tight spot, goes on the run and picks up a prostitute who becomes his buddy along the way. The guy has just found out he has only a little time to live and the woman has no idea how to survive in the world if the sex is taken out of it.
What didn’t quite work for me was the way all of the individual parts were put together. The rhythms of the piece are a little erratic and the slower sections lumber in places. There are also elements to the story that seem overly contrived. An example of this is the relationship between the 2 runners which never seems to quite fit. They really shouldn’t stay together and even with their battered past and need for something in their lives, they make a pretty unlikely match.
The overall arc contains a tragic tale and the grim images and thoughts of the protagonist, Roy Cady, are often beautifully expressed. Some of the prose is truly stunning. There are many lines and expressions of pain and sadness that are remarkable and, to my mind, this is the big strength of the book. The ending is one of those seriously good moments and is quite sublime.
Recommended for the quality of the prose, the settings, tones and the vignettes rather than as a thriller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Dark Novel, 7 May 2014
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This review is from: Galveston (Kindle Edition)
Fantastic read, great characters and setting, stayed with me after reading it, what you would expect from the writer of True Detective
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Losing a friend., 5 May 2014
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This review is from: Galveston (Kindle Edition)
I am not normally the kind of person to review books, but l enjoyed reading this story so much l wanted to recommend it to others. Not my usual genre either, as my title suggests leaving this book was like losing a friend. I am looking out for any more books by Nix Pizzolatto in future.
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Galveston
Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto (Paperback - 27 Mar 2014)
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