Synopses & Reviews
One day you know more dead people that live ones...
Jess Walter is a writer with a rare talent for finding humanity and emotional truths in lives lived on both sides of the law. With his third novel, Citizen Vince, Walter has crafted a story as inventive as it is suspenseful -- an irresistible tale about the price of freedom and the mystery of salvation.
It's the fall of 1980, eight days before a presidential election that pits the downtrodden Jimmy Carter against the suspiciously sunny Ronald Reagan ("Are you better off than you were four years ago?"). In a quiet house in Spokane, Washington, Vince Camden wakes up at 1:59 a.m., pockets his weekly stash of stolen credit cards, and drops in on an all-night poker game with his low-life friends on his way to his witness-protection job dusting crullers at Donut Make You Hungry. This is the sum of Vince's new life: donuts, forged credit cards, marijuana smuggled in jars of volcanic ash, and a neurotic hooker girlfriend who dreams of being a real estate agent.
But when a familiar face shows up in town, Vince realizes that no matter how far you think you've run from your past . . . it's always close behind you. Over the course of the next unforgettable week, on the run from Spokane to New York's Lower East Side, Vince Camden will negotiate a maze of obsessive cops, eager politicians, and emerging mobsters, only to find that redemption might just exist in -- of all places -- a voting booth.
Darkly funny and surprisingly hopeful, Citizen Vince is the story of a charming crook chasing the biggest score of his life: a second chance.
"Dispassionate and compassionate by turns, and always engrossing. Walter's best by far." Kirkus Reviews (Starred review)
"[A] gritty love letter to Spokane...and with its Capra-like spirit, it serves as a surprisingly satisfying antidote to the avalanche of cynical chatter emanating from this year's political campaigns and commentators." Booklist
"It's been a long time since I've read a book as compulsively, indeed greedily, as I read Citizen Vince." Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool
"Jess Walter's Citizen Vince is a wonderfully written, noirish thriller, but ultimately it is so compelling because Vince Camden is hard to forget....[L]eav[ing] many readers wanting Walter to hurry and deliver another installment." Los Angeles Times
"With a multitude of scruffy, likable characters and a hopping plot, the story moves along, at turns gritty, funny, poignant and, despite some bloody crimes, surprisingly charming." Portland Oregonian
"Citizen Vince is an affecting testament to American faith in the common man as well as to the resilient possibilities of the crime novel." Washington Post
"For readers who appreciate wry precision and expert timing, it may be enough to know that Citizen Vince arrives with sky-high praise from both Ken Bruen and Richard Russo, with whom Mr. Walters shares these qualities. For others, the book's fusion of humor, crime and politics may be recommendation enough." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
From the highly acclaimed crime novelist and author of Over Tumbled Graves and Land of the Blind comes a story of witness protection, petty thievery, local politics, and murder set against the turbulent backdrop of the 1980 presidential election. Jess Walter is swiftly making a name for himself as a writer of extraordinarily literate thrillers, combining an uncanny eye for character and action with a keen feel for the moody atmosphere of Spokane, Washington a once-thriving small city long on the wane. Now, in Citizen Vince, he steps back in time to 1980, to trace the fortunes of a former East Coast criminal relocated to Spokane and to rediscover police detective Alan Dupree, the cynical antihero of Over Tumbled Graves, as a fresh young investigator not yet disillusioned by the job.
From a highly acclaimed young novelist comes a story of witness protection, petty thievery, local politics, and murder set against the turbulent backdrop of the 1980 presidential election.
About the Author
Jess Walter is the author of the novel Over Tumbled Graves and coauthor of Christopher Darden's bestselling account of the O. J. Simpson trial, In Contempt. He has won national recognition for his reporting and writing, and his coverage of the Randy Weaver case helped the Spokane Spokesman-Review earn a Pulitzer Prize nomination. Walter lives in Spokane with his family.