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Nobody Move: A Novel Hardcover – April 28, 2009
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From The New Yorker
Top Customer Reviews
"Nobody Move" is a thicket of f-bombs, tangled sheets, motels, bars, cigarettes, lipstick, pay phones, two Cadillacs, .357 Magnums, shotguns, duffel bags and pages and pages of that highly-polished, clipped dialogue that is ready for a screenplay and has precious little to do with the way people really talk. A direct answer is rare.
Recommended for fans of Denis Johnson and this particular hard-boiled genre. Not recommended for those looking for a meaty, rich story. The tension is minimal and the story is over in a minute.
One of the leading characters, Luntz, is a loser of a gambler who owes big money. He shoots Gambol, the enforcer, in the leg. Being an amateur, he does not finish him off, so of course, Gambol survives to chase him down. At the same time, the beautiful damsel, Anita, about to plead guilty to embezzling $2.3 million, links up with Luntz for no accountable reason. The prosecutor and the judge have the money she embezzled, so of course, everyone joins forces to get it back. What few plot twists and turns that do occur all happen in the last twenty to thirty pages. They are too late and too feeble to save the book.
There was potential at the outset, with Luntz a possible loveable loser of a schmuck gambler and Anita a clever conniver. But the potential is frittered away.
I was not sure while reading this whether the book was an attempt to do a noir modernization of Hammett or a spoof of the genre. Either way it did not work for me. I found it lacking in either attempt. I would skip this one and, next time, I will not pick a book by the award the author won for a prior novel.
But it didn't turn out that way.
There's a cast of very marginal characters who, in a slightly noir classic sense, have a penchant for theft and violence. There's Jimmy Luntz, a bottom feeder of a gambler whom loves Hawaiian shirts and barbershop-chorus singing. There's a corrupt judge and lawyer who have embezzled a couple of million dollars, and the lawyer's beautiful wife Anita, who has been framed for the larceny, and she's ready for revenge.
There are more characters, but the problem with all of them is that they really have no depth; the entire story seems flat, yet almost claustrophobic. There's sex, but it also seems flat and not as erotic or even as passionate as one might expect, considering the characters. Jimmy takes Anita to bed after a booze-filled night at a local bar; they hop in bed, fall for each other, copulate, and scheme together. It's as flat as that, and often had this listener to the point of sometimes almost dozing off.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The brilliance of his writing overcomes any shortcomings in plot. In the past this would have been a short story in Black Mask or similar pulp detective genre magazine.Published 9 months ago by Jon Harkavy
Johnson's "Jesus' Son" is one of my favorite books ever. I read "Nobody Move" in one sitting. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Marvela
I'd like to meet Mr Johnson ... I suspect he has known some of the same outlandish characters on a personal levelPublished 14 months ago by Kindle Customer
I have never read a Denis Johnson novel or short story before but I have heard about him. This short audible novel with Will Patton doing the talking makes it the first. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kristi Richardson
Generic, poorly-written pulp with no twists on a cliche-ridden genre. Denis Johnson is an award-winning writer. Don't ask me why.Published 15 months ago by Paul N Moulton
Each of the books of mr. Johnson's I read further convinces me of his power with the English language.Published 15 months ago by Randy Rice
I love noir. I love Denis Johnson. Home run, right? This book is a mess. Lifeless and boring, you can find much better noir or Johnson - save time and money, move along.Published 19 months ago by George Daniel Cooke