By Christopher Cook
(Carroll & Graf, Hardcover, 9780786707768, 320pp.)
Publication Date: October 2000
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This debut novel is written in a style evocative of James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard at their toughest and funniest. From page one and nonstop, Christopher Cook, a brilliant new talent in crime fiction, takes two drifters on a wild and bloody ride across the state of Texas. Written with an eye and heart for the rural south so true that readers will smell the magnolia and taste the dust, this first novel has such authenticity, assuredness, and strength that it will be immediately apparent why James Ellroy has already described it as "my kind of book." From its terse opening lines Robbers promises to be any crime and mystery fan's kind of book: "Eddie didn't intend to shoot the guy. Didn't intend to rob him, either. What happened was - " Thus begins the path of mayhem laid by the two drifters Eddie and Ray Bob, one a sociopath and the other a talented blues guitarist, as well as the mission of the Texas Ranger who pursues them. As the two losers wind their way across Texas, robbing and killing with no long-range plans, and no immediate ones either, they hook up with a young woman named Della. Eddie falls in love with her and decides to clean up his act for her - much to the disgust of Ray Bob, who preferred the trigger-happy life with his buddy before the intrusion of Della with her middle-class desire for respectability.