3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Straightforward Example of Noir Fiction,
This review is from: Nobody Move (Paperback)
The title of this lean, mean, exemplar of modern noir comes from a lyric its protagonist overhears -- "Nobody move, nobody get hurt." (It's not clear to me if he overheard the original 1984 Yelloman song, or the 1988 Easy-E version off Eazy-Duz-It -- most likely the latter). Of course, in noir, even if protagonists are existentially stuck in their lives, they are always trying to move. And of course, they get hurt. Here, that role is played by Luntz (a name that in and of itself, tells you pretty much everything you need to know about his station in life), a wanna-be singer with a gambling problem who's in way over his head with an L.A. loanshark.
Somewhere around Bakersfield, Luntz encounters the enforcer sent to collect, a sexy dame with an inside line on $2 million in cash, and a few other colorful characters (ex-bikers, corrupt judges, etc.). What unfolds is unlikely to be surprising to anyone likes crime fiction that features losers, but Johnson makes the exercise look pretty effortless. He mixes styles effectively, ranging from ultra-bleak Jim Thompson territory to the rat-a-tat caper riffing of Elmore Leonard, without veering too deeply into either. There's nothing new here, but then again, that's kind of the point of noir -- losers keep making the same mistakes, and we keep reading about them.