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Nobody Move: A Novel

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Denis Johnson

Starred Review. National Book Award–winner Johnson (Tree of Smoke) goes lean and mean in this slick noir, originally serialized inPlayboylast summer. Jimmy Luntz, a chain-smoking, fast-talking addictive gambler, is in the hole several grand to … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Denis Johnson
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
1 review about Nobody Move: A Novel

Gambling it all, but for what? Lean, tough and witty prose animate this neo-noir novel

  • May 25, 2009
If life is a card game, and you always lose in the end, why not raise the stakes as high as you can? I'd like to think of this novel as a secular existentialist response to Pascal's famous wager on eternity.

Jimmy Lutz is a small time gambler, owes somebody money of course, who ups the ante by shooting the leg of the bored thug hired to rough him up. Anita Desilvera is a pretty alcoholic who got framed for the extortion of a hefty sum by her husband and an aging judge. She wants revenge and the money. They meet up over karaoke and, well, it ain't all pretty in the end. Still, it's an exciting game.

I'd never heard of Denis Johnson, whose prior novel Tree of Smoke won him the National Book Award. I thought I'd take a gamble on a short crime fiction that was advertised to be written by a brilliant stylist. I scored. Big time.

Nobody Move is a lot of fun. It's a contemporary return to the old style crime novel, with down-on-their-luck schlubs taking chances meeting sexy tough double-crossing dames, all while being tailed by both the cops and the mob. It so clearly immerses itself into the era of 50's crime stories and film noir that it was almost a shock when any of the characters pulled out a cell phone or logged into a laptop.

I'm not sure whether it all adds up to much more than wit and grit, but I'm not complaining. I won't forget to keep an eye out in the future for Denis Johnson.

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