Citizen Vince by Jess Walter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads description: The highly acclaimed author of Over Tumbled Graves and Land Of The Blind delivers another deft and dazzling suspense novel, a tale of petty crime, local politics, and murder set in 1980, featuring Alan Dupree as a fresh young investigator not yet disillusioned by the job. Small-time East Coast criminal Vince Camden was relocated to Spokane under the witness protection program after serving up a couple of his old buddies to the Feds. In his seedy suburban tract house Vince wakes up every morning at 1:59 AM before his alarm goes off, and starts counting all the dead people he knows. On this particular day, Vince feels more paranoid than ever that someone's out to get him. The people he encounters are jittery and out of sorts. But the real games begin when his walk home takes him across the path of detective Dupree at the scene of a grisly shooting.
The first Jess Walter book I read was The Financial Lives of the Poets, which I absolutely loved. It was hilarious, and having studied poetry, I could appreciate the poetic quotes peppered throughout, but inserted to fill the context of the main character’s situations. Even without being familiar with poetry, it was still an awesome, funny book. I knew Citizen Vince had a serious tone, but I wasn’t sure what else to expect. I liked it a lot – I loved the main character, Vince. But honestly, I don’t think the rookie detective, Allen Dupree played a huge role and was unnecessary. The characters were on the fringes of society, but it wasn’t a pulpy crime novel, not that there’s anything wrong with those – I’m a huge fan of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series. It’s set around election time, 1980, and is basically about a guy trying to reform and lead a legitimate life. The writing is really good, but I guess I couldn’t give it 5 stars because…well, I shouldn’t have expected it to be like The Financial Lives of the Poets.