Rating: 3 stars
Veteran author James Sallis hits a high note with his novel Drive, garnering plenty of positive praise and even winning an award as a motion picture. Its long awaited sequel, Driven is sure to receive the same level of enthusiasm. Sallis definitely knows how to maneuver a winning plot that grips the reader from start to finish.
Driven begins with the protagonist, Driver, watching his fiancée tragically die right in front of his eyes in broad daylight. Even though he took care of the two men who attacked them, he knows more will come until the job is finished.
With the help of Felix, an old friend, a brooding Driver goes to ground and starts tracing his unknown nemesis. As the seemingly unrelated pieces start to fit in place, bringing him closer to the truth, his deadly pursuers are zeroing in their moving target. Only time will tell if Driver can get his elusive answers before they catch up to him for the last time.
To be honest, my very first impression upon receiving Driven was, “Um…where’s the rest?” After all, novels are supposed to be thick, right? It didn’t take long for me to realize that Sallis doesn’t need hundreds of pages to get his points across. In fact, his wonderfully descriptive details, the intricate plot line, and the complex characters – everything you’d want and expect out of a “full sized novel” – is in a much more concise and quickly-read format.
Driven is an adrenaline-fueled ride with nonstop pedal to the metal action. Fans of crime novels, darker anti-hero type books, and the neo-noir genre will find an instant favorite in Sallis’ work. Those looking for more than a lazy day book, something with substance and smarts, will find themselves engrossed for the entire 147 pages and walk away completely satisfied.
Sallis brings the whole story full circle, teasing the reader with on-going suspense and bits and pieces of the shadowy truth before finally putting on the breaks and allowing the surprising resolution to be fully appreciated. Very well done!
Paperback: 158 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (April 3, 2012)