Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Citizen Vince -- Jess Walter

This is the book that won the Best Novel Edgar last year. I can see why. It's smart and sharp, with a political background to give it "heft."

Vince (Not His Real Name) is in the witness protection program in Seattle, doing a nice business in fake credit cards while working in a donut shop. His steady job in the shop seems to be one thing that contributes to his growing political awareness as he begins to see that maybe being a square citizen might not be too bad. The setting is 1980, and the Reagan/Carter campaign is always in the background. Vince, who's going to vote for the first time in his life, is trying to decide how to cast his ballot.

That, of course, isn't the main plot, which involves Vince's past paying him a visit. It seems that somebody wants him dead, and that involves some travel to old haunts, a meeting with the mob (and a guy you'll recognize), and a good bit of skulduggery.

Lots of great characters, especially Vince and the cop who's pursuing him. No heroics, but you don't expect that. Watching Vince try to change his life and become almost a citizen is what it's all about. Check it out.


Vince said...

I'm a huge Jess Walter fan. Citizen Vince is a great book, but how could it not be with that title? The Spokane cop who's after Vince turns up as an older character in two earlier Walter books, Over Tumbled Graves and Land of the Blind. Both worth reading.

Unknown said...

Glad to hear that the cop is in those other novels. But no Vince?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it was a terrific book and I've been meaning to read his others.