The Driver by Hart Hanson

The Driver

Hart Hanson

From the creator of the hit Fox television show "Bones", a thrilling story with an unforgettable cast of characters and an engaging, wry first-person voice.

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From the creator of the TV show Bones comes a “riveting, smart and funny” (Harlan Coben) debut thriller. 

“Everything a great thriller should be—always smart, often funny, and relentlessly exciting. I loved every page.”—Scott Turow
 
Michael Skellig is a limo driver waiting for his client in the alley behind an upscale hotel. He’s spent the past twenty-eight hours ferrying around Bismarck Avila, a celebrity skateboard mogul who isn’t going home any time soon. Suddenly the wind begins to speak to Skellig in the guttural accent of the Chechen torturer he shot through the eye in Yemen a decade ago: Troubletroubletrouble. Skellig has heard these warnings before—he’s an Army Special Forces sergeant whose limo company is staffed by a ragtag band of wounded veterans, including his Afghan interpreter—and he knows to listen carefully.

Skellig runs inside just in time to save Avila from two gunmen but too late for one of Avila’s bodyguards—and wakes up hours later in the hospital, the only person of interest in custody for the murder. Complicating matters further is the appearance of Detective Delilah Groopman of the LAPD, gorgeous and brash, for whom Skellig has always held a candle. As for Avila? He’s willing to help clear Skellig’s name under one peculiar condition: that Skellig become Avila’s personal chauffeur. A cushy gig for any driver, except for the fact that someone is clearly trying to kill Avila, and Skellig is literally the only person sitting between Avila and a bullet to the head.

"It is so hard to be unique in crime fiction and Hart Hanson has done it big time with The Driver. It’s got all the ingredients: high risks, strong momentum, unseen turns and a set of gripping characters. You can’t ask for more!" --Michael Connelly
 
The Driver has it all—crisp dialogue, complex characters, and a plot that zips at breathtaking speed.”—Kathy Reichs
 
The Driver is grim, funny, violent, and moving—all on the same page.”—T. Jefferson Parker


Advance Galley Reviews

I had to go ahead and add this book to the DNF pile. Early on I realized that it's not for me..... at all. It's a fast paced adrenaline rush, which is a plus, but I found the writing to be juvenile and incredibly tacky. The characters are overworked and stereotyped; the author takes the time to describe the ethnicity of all of them, from the black guy smoking weed out in the open and voicing his disdain for white people staring at him to the Guatemalans working in the kitchen of the hotel.... Let's just say that it doesn't flow and I couldn't help but roll my eyes at least a few times per page. No thanks.

I really appreciated the dark humor in this book and how it helped soften some of the dark places in the book. I could really see this book as the beginning of a television series. I loved the dynamic of the character relationships and their depth in proximity to each other. I was not sure what to expect with this book and am glad I got the chance to review it. It really reminded me of Harlen Corben's style yet was still very original.

The plot drove me crazy.

This is a book I had problems measuring how much I liked but it's undeniable that I liked it. So let's call it a 3.5. Skellig is veteran and now a limo driver who is forced to work for a skater celebrity, whose life he had just saved. However, danger is not over and Skellig has just gotten himself in a mess so big even his friends could be in danger. This is an action-filled thriller narrated in first person by Skellig, who also tends to speak to the reader. I'm not sure I can call it a different style but it surely isn't conventional. It has its cons, though. I think Skellig is a character who would work much better on a screen, he has this attitude and he loves trying to evade by being funny, except his jokes aren't funny, not even to the characters in the book. I'm sure that would be great on a TV, when you're able to see the face he's making at that moment. In fact, most of the funny scenes would have been funnier if played by an actor, so I think I'd watch a live action of this book. Now, as a book, it also is quite enjoyable. Even though I'd frown most of the time to Skellig's attitude, it got to a point I'd giggle just because he was doing it again. I definitely can't complain about him being out of character. As for the plot, we have some mystery but the plot twists aren't strong. I think this is more the type of story for you to enjoy as it happens instead of feeling excited about what hasn't yet. Just sit and enjoy, I'd say. The really big flaw is the romance. I wasn't even expecting any to happen but as it did I need to mention this: what the hell? Actually, I was generous calling it romance. Skellig's love(?) life so erratic I'm glad the author didn't place any bets on that. One page he was head over heels and even heartbroken about Connie the lawyer, and then he'd be thinking again and going after Delilah the detective... All that in a weird, borderline-bipolar manner. I think Hanson was going for a love triangle because, in theory, there was lots of potential. He failed. I wish those parts were just erased from the story, they were just too weird. I almost forgot to mention but Hanson was obviously worried about diversity. I won't got in details but he's got almost all here. Immigrants, people with disability, homosexuals and, of course, women. I view this positively, despite the main guy still being a white American man, so I think those more knowledgeable in this could raise concerns. For me, I say, "yay!" This got longer than I had foreseen but summing up, it was a nice book. I don't usually read book written by men, action, book starred by men... there was a handful of stuff here that could have made me stay away, and I'm glad they didn't. I had a great time, and I hope to read Hanson's next work soon. I wonder if this will be made into a series? The story was pretty much closed but I feel there's a chance.

I quit on this one about 20 pages in, when the narrator explains that his rapper client's mother "died ugly during a rape." I get that in the world of the story, he's supposed to be summarizing information we already know. But I'm not really interested in continuing on with a story that's going to treat the assault and murder of a woman of color like a footnote in a white guy's story. There's enough of that going on in the real world - I don't need it in my escapist summer thrillers.

 


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