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.