By Jess Walter
Harper, Hardcover, 9780060394417, 304pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
One day you know more dead people that live ones...
Jess Walter is a writer with a rare talent for finding humanity and emotional truths in lives lived on both sides of the law. With his third novel, Citizen Vince, Walter has crafted a story as inventive as it is suspenseful -- an irresistible tale about the price of freedom and the mystery of salvation.
It's the fall of 1980, eight days before a presidential election that pits the downtrodden Jimmy Carter against the suspiciously sunny Ronald Reagan ("Are you better off than you were four years ago?"). In a quiet house in Spokane, Washington, Vince Camden wakes up at 1:59 a.m., pockets his weekly stash of stolen credit cards, and drops in on an all-night poker game with his low-life friends on his way to his witness-protection job dusting crullers at Donut Make You Hungry. This is the sum of Vince's new life: donuts, forged credit cards, marijuana smuggled in jars of volcanic ash, and a neurotic hooker girlfriend who dreams of being a real estate agent.
But when a familiar face shows up in town, Vince realizes that no matter how far you think you've run from your past . . . it's always close behind you. Over the course of the next unforgettable week, on the run from Spokane to New York's Lower East Side, Vince Camden will negotiate a maze of obsessive cops, eager politicians, and emerging mobsters, only to find that redemption might just exist in -- of all places -- a voting booth.
Darkly funny and surprisingly hopeful, Citizen Vince is the story of a charming crook chasing the biggest score of his life: a second chance.
“What makes Walter’s third novel so enjoyable is Vince, a flawed but sympathetic character trying to find redemption.”
“Rich in robust characters ad wry dialogue, with agile prose, a big heart and a finely tuned plot.”
1st Place, General Trade-Jacket, New York Book Show
“A splendidly entertaining, thoughtful book ... Jess Walter continues to impress.”
“(An) immensely entertaining crime thriller and wry social commentary.”