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After the Last Race Hardcover – January 1, 1974
"Have You Seen Luis Velez?" by Catherine Ryan Hyde
New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde brings heartwarming authenticity to the story of two strangers who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear.| Learn more
- Publisher : Atheneum; 1st edition (January 1, 1974)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 297 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0689106211
- ISBN-13 : 978-0689106217
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
Best Sellers Rank:
#4,474,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #118,349 in Horror Literature & Fiction
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Edgar and Annie are tired of living by the rules. Hard work has earned them only debt and loneliness. They want wealth – no matter what the risk. Fearful but determined, they plan a clever, hideously dangerous robbery. The target: a thoroughbred race track on Sweepstakes Day. The goal: steal every dollar from the cash room and the mutual windows – plus one million dollars that is on display as a promotional gimmick. The attempt draws into their lives many unexpected, sharply delineated characters, including an arsonist, a psychopathic killer, a cancer-stricken gambler on his last fling, and a wise young track detective.
This is one of the early novels from Koontz, a mystery thriller set in the vein of Ocean’s Eleven. In fact, that movie-among others-are referenced.
I enjoyed the varied characters. The gambler trying to provide for his wife, the pyromaniac, the detective, the track manager trying to cope with himself. The bad guys were varied enough that nobody looked or sounded like another.
The book is relatively short and while some may think it moves slowly, I think it does a fair job of building up to the heist.
My issues with this book are that it leaves some questions hanging. What did the cancer patient do after the story ended? Did he solve his problem? The life of the manager was left up in the air, but made it seem as if he was trapped in a marriage with a woman who didn’t really know herself, either. Plus, did he still have a job the next day? The arsonist left the story too soon and was all that relevant to the main plot.
The action was good, and it was written in the style of straightforward, no fluff, tough and plain dialogue.
I’m giving this the rank because I did enjoy the story even if it left me wanting a bit more.
As others have pointed out, this book gets off to an extremely slow start. Koontz seems to be trying for a "Mission Impossible" format showing bits and pieces of a master plan that become apparent later in the story. It is a good idea but his writing in the first part of the book was not up to whatever it takes to keep up the reader's interest. This improved later in the story but then another flaw in my opinion becomes apparent: I did not especially like any of his characters. For that matter, there was no character that was extremely "bad", either.
There was one character that the reader might have rooted for in the beginning but when that character was willing to "shoot to kill" anybody that got in the way of money that he wanted to steal, I lost did not care whether that character survived to the end of the story or not.
One of the thieves was portrayed as being the "bad guy" of the story as he was planning on killing all of his fellow thieves in order to have all of the booty to himself. But the others were willing to kill guards, police, or even a civic-minded civilian to get this same money so his behavior was not much worse than the rest of the gang.
I would not recommend this book to anybody. I am kind of glad that I read it but that is for historical purposes only. (It is interesting to see the development of a writer.)
Well, if you're going to write genre novels, you might
as well cover every genre. This is Koontz' first, and
really only, attempt at a straight hardboiled-style
thriller. A loose-knit gang of would-be thieves have a
plan to hold up a racetrack on a day when there will
be at least two million dollars on the premises.
Simple, easy to understand, with some nice plot twists
and excellent characterization. Koontz takes a
jaundiced look at the excesses of the seventies and
the excesses of thriller writers like Spillane all in
This is one of the longest novels Koontz wrote before
becoming a superstar, and one gets the feeling he was
testing his expansiveness legs, as it were.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work quite as well here as
it does in much longer books (e.g. Whispers or The
House of Thunder); the first fifty pages, especially,
are slow as molasses. Once it picks up, though, it
picks up fast.
This may well be the hardest Dean Koontz novel on the
planet to find. It's worth searching out, but the
prices will probably scare you more than most of his
later novels. ***