Title: Robbers ***SSIGNED***
Publisher: Carroll & Graf, NY
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed by Author on Full Title Page
Edition: 1st. Edition, 1st. Printing.
First Edition, First Printing. Signed, without inscription, by author on the FULL title page. New unread Fine book in Fine dust jacket. Author's first novel. All our books are bubble wrapped and shipped in a sturdy box with Delivery Confirmation. NO remainder mark, NO previous owner markings or inscriptions, NOT price clipped, NOT a Book Club Edition, NOT an Ex-Lib. Dust jacket covered in protective clear wrapper. Bookseller Inventory # 007754
Synopsis: 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.
Review: Start with a cliché: Texas is big. Big enough for someone to start running and keep running, big enough to harbor dreams, big enough to crush them. Then transmute the cliché into narrative gold, spun from violence, bittersweet humor, beauty, and terror. The alchemist is Christopher Cook, whose first novel is a noir powerhouse: uncompromising and authentic, with darkly funny characters and prose that veers magically between grandeur and grit. Think James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard, but think William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy too.
The bleak joyride of Robbers follows Eddie and Ray Bob, drifters bound together against a common enemy they're powerless to define (boredom, conventionality, poverty?), on a killing spree across the Lone Star state. A chance shooting in a convenience store sets the two runnin' buddies on a road noteworthy for its anonymity as well as its violence:
The twin tunnels of light the Caddy bored forward into darkness never faltered but seemed to gain no ground different from any other. The FM still didn't work, and they changed from one AM station to another as they ran out from beneath the reach of each into broken waves of static. That's how they knew they were moving. Otherwise they might not have known in that broad charcoal sweep beneath wheeling constellations.One shooting leads inexorably to another, and another... though nothing else is sure in this breathtaking novel, which counters anticipation with surprise at every turn. The novel's brutality is matter-of-fact, but never casual. When Della, a single mother with an unusually pressing problem, joins Eddie and Ray Bob on the run, the picture gets complicated for all concerned. And the drift becomes a pursuit rich with near-mythic overtones, as Texas Ranger Rule Hooks tracks the trio from the Gulf Coast to the pine forests of East Texas. Hooks is a pragmatic loner with an uncanny ability to sense the movements of his prey: "He stood still. He was having a feeling. He had them now and then and sometimes he listened and sometimes he didn't. It all depended. Just now he didn't know. Wasn't sure."
It may be bad luck to speak of the expectations for Cook's next novel, but when one's debut is as astonishing as this, high expectations are inevitable, as is the impatience with which readers, bowled over by Robbers' speed and skill, will await the next serendipitous event. --Kelly Flynn
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