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Cruisers: A Novel Paperback – July 12, 2005

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nova's muted, somewhat bleak novel, set in a Vermont mill town, hints at disaster from its first pages. The product of a catastrophic childhood, Frank Kohler is a loner who "knew he was running out of time." The reader knows it, too, and can feel Frank moving toward some unknown, perhaps lethal cataclysm. Likable state cop Russell Boyd spends most nights on traffic duty, which he rather enjoys, and has a promising new girlfriend in Zofia. Nova (Wetware, etc.) alternates between these two men as Frank, in a misguided search for love, gets a Russian mail-order bride, Katryna, and Russell lives "the malice and danger of his hour-to-hour" job. The two men cross paths briefly several times, ricocheting off one another before their final confrontation. The reader, lulled by the soporific grace of Nova's prose, watches transfixed as his four players travel inexorably down the paths to their awaiting fates. Nova again demonstrates his control of character, sense of place and ability to create grim worlds that readers might be reluctant to experience at first, but then find hard to resist.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Nova, an electrifying novelist with a loyal following, ventured into the future in Wetware (2001), and while he returns to the present in his eleventh novel, it, too, pulses with the menace engendered by the divide between our potent technologies and our old instinctive, reptilian brains. And so it is in this tautly strung tale of two rural New Englanders: Russell Boyd, a cop who scans the highway for speeders, and Frank Kohler, a loner on the brink of a violent crisis. Russell is in love with Zofia, a forthright special-ed teacher. Frank has Katryna, a Russian mail-order bride, but he expects trouble rather than happiness. Clearly, all four are destined to cross paths, and Nova executes their moves like a chess master, all the while ratcheting up the tension and calling into question any sense of security, order, or reason. Like the best of noir, Nova's unsettling novels, serpentine in their structure, speed, and toxic bite, remind us that while dark forces are always present, we must embrace love. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (July 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400030692
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400030699
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,109,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A highway patrolman, a computer repairman, their girlfriends (one from Russia) and some strange side characters all contemplating their every sensation and thought in great detail. The fog gets pretty thick at times and within it a few people are killed, some are terrified and some love weaves though it, both beautiful and sick. I would not have thought I would like such a book, but at the end, it left me with such strong feelings that I had to say it was pretty good - at least a 3.5. It is not so much a mystery, nor a thriller, as it is just a psychological study through which, if we hang in there, we may learn a few things about ourselves
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Format: Paperback
This is the kind of American crime writing that leaves UK authors like Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell and Colin Dexter looking like amateurs floundering in the wake of their cousins across the Atlantic.

It is taut, sharp, to the point and there are no heroes, flawed or otherwise; the "good" guys and the "bad" guys are ordinary people whose personalities and lives have taken them in a certain direction and, at the end of the day, they find they have little control over their destinies.

Goodbye plodding beer-drinking, crossword-solving detectives like Rankin's Rebus, Rendell's Wexford and Dexter's Morse and welcome Russell Boyd, a lowly police trooper with troubled memories of his childhood, who spends the night hours alone patrolling the dark, wintry highways of Vermont where each of the vehicles whizzing by is a potential menace.

Every time Boyd pulls up a car for speeding, he is aware that he faces the possibility of a gun being stuck in his face and fired.

The title "Cruisers" refers to the police patrol cars and much of the actions centers on cars and the fascination they have for Americans, their speed and what they represent as a means of escape and sexual attraction.

The story follows a few months in the unhappy lives of Robb and the other main character, Frank Kohler, a loner and misfit.

Both are all-American males who love guns, cars and women in that order.

Both are trying to come to terms with a new life: Robb with a schoolteacher he has just met and Kohler with a mail order bride from Russia who has just been delivered.

All the characters' paths mingle and intermingle like a Thomas Hardy story, with a similar dark cloud hanging over everything they do, and the reader knows the ending will be explosive.

The style is low key and the dramatic ending is almost underwritten, with a similarly understated follow-up.

This book is crying out to be made into a decent film.
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Format: Hardcover
I am an avid reader during the summer months and came across this book while perusing the book shelves at my favorite bookstore.

Well! Reading this novel was a brand new experience!

The story is gripping, the characters are "real", and my soul just "resonated" to the "words"....the duality of our humaness and lives, the dark and the light, the mundane and the violence, the confusion and the clarity.

Never have I read anything like this before.

I am a new Craig Nova fan.
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By Blakely on June 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the mood of cruisers is pretty bleak. the characters are contemplative, and no one ever seems to be in a good mood. the main character, a highway patrolman named russell, seems like a haunted guy...maybe because of his job? i don't think every cop is like that. i wasn't sure whether he is depressed or afraid.

the killer seems to have a similar dispositon, although his troubles come from a really bad childhood. there's no way to know why his wife and russell's girlfriend are so moody. kohler's wife clearly has good reason, but it's not revealed.

This reminds me of a dark thriller movie, maybe something like insomnia. much of the writing seems to be quite deep, but most of it is incomprehensible. craig nova has a good command of the language, but i'm not sure it's possible to really enjoy this book.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim. Once I started to read it I couldn't wait to finish it. Not because I had to know what happened, but because I wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible.

The most important thing about any novel (in my opinion) is having characters you can sink your teeth into. Characters who jump to life, right off the page.

This book completely lacks that. Never have I cared LESS for main characters in a book as I did with Russel Boyd and Frank Kohler.

Russel is a State Trooper. Brooding with very little to say.
Frank Kohler is a computer repairman more or less who comes from a horrible childhood and is looking for love.

Both characters are extremely depressing to read. The constant back and forth about how they're feeling at any given moment (and beleive me, not a sentence goes by where Nova doesn't wax poetic about how each character feels about the trees outside, the color of the snow, the sound of a coffee maker, etc, etc) is confusing and totally takes you out of the story.

And there's really not much of a story. Kohler's the 'bad guy', Boyd's the 'good guy', their paths meet several times, an event happens, end of story.

This book is almost written as if it's two different stories. One about Boyd and his relationship and how his job affects that, and the other about Kohler's demons and his quest for love (or just companionship as the case may be). The stories intertwine and come to a definite, if not anticlimactic, conclusion but each separate story just isn't that interesting.

Another problem I had with the book was the dialogue, or shoud I say lack thereof.
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