Synopses & Reviews
Frank Kohler is ready to snap. He is capable of love, but he knows time is running out. His mother was brutally murdered, and he never knew his father. With each passing day he perceives his anger with an almost religious sense of beauty. In an attempt to save himself, he decides to marry a mail-order bride from Russia.
Russell Boyd is a state trooper who resists those acts that damage life forever. He has seen about as much of them as he can take. And yet, he has met the woman who makes him feel whole. She is the center of his life.
Frank Kohlers and Russell Boyds paths will cross three times. And the third time will change everything. It is the moment when the line between good and evil is made dramatically clear.
As with such modern classics as Dennis Lehanes Mystic River and Graham Greenes The Heart of the Matter, Craig Nova gives us an illuminating story of characters who struggle against the collisions of fate, and who are motivated by the touching need to be human.
"Nova's muted, somewhat bleak novel, set in a Vermont mill town, hints at disaster from its first pages. The product of a catastrophic childhood, Frank Kohler is a loner who 'knew he was running out of time.' The reader knows it, too, and can feel Frank moving toward some unknown, perhaps lethal cataclysm. Likable state cop Russell Boyd spends most nights on traffic duty, which he rather enjoys, and has a promising new girlfriend in Zofia. Nova (Wetware, etc.) alternates between these two men as Frank, in a misguided search for love, gets a Russian mail-order bride, Katryna, and Russell lives 'the malice and danger of his hour-to-hour' job. The two men cross paths briefly several times, ricocheting off one another before their final confrontation. The reader, lulled by the soporific grace of Nova's prose, watches transfixed as his four players travel inexorably down the paths to their awaiting fates. Nova again demonstrates his control of character, sense of place and ability to create grim worlds that readers might be reluctant to experience at first, but then find hard to resist. Agent, Peter Matson. (July) Forecast: Nova is one of those novelists who deserve greater readership, but whose subject matter and tone can chase away readers who look to fiction for fun rather than existential edification. Fans of Pete Dexter, Richard Price and William Kennedy are likely customers, though." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Craig Nova's novels deserve to be ranked among the best American fiction of the past two decades....The more he writes, the better he gets." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"Like a depressing tale of crime and woe from the evening news but shorn of tabloid extravagance and with an uncommonly human sensibility." Kirkus Reviews
"[A]n electrifying novelist....Like the best of noir, Nova's unsettling novels, serpentine in their structure, speed, and toxic bite, remind us that while dark forces are always present, we must embrace love." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Cruisers finds Nova back at the top of his form....Maybe Cruisers, with its crime-fiction trappings and the mind-bending places Nova goes with them, will win him the larger readership he so richly deserves." Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times
"The pacing of Cruisers is compulsive and relentless, perfect for a book named after the constant motion of state troopers' cars as they patrol the highways, night after endless night." Eliza R. L. McGraw, Boston Globe
"If the novel falls short on characterization, it doesn't lack for forceful storytelling....As it stands, the situations evolve but the characters don't. It's like one of those shiny tire rims that spin even when the car isn't going anywhere." Brenn Jones, The San Francisco Chronicle
"Each book has been different from every other in terms of character, and though Cruisers is not his broadest canvas, he does make up in intensity, especially in the scenes of naked violence, what he gives up in breadth." Alan Cheuse, The Chicago Tribune
"Cruisers is one of Nova's finest novels....[A] work of literary noir that delves deeply into what Faulkner called 'the human heart in conflict with itself,' exposing its dark secrets to the light of day." Dorman Shindler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"[A] spine-chilling journey reminiscent of a lone night on the open road....The book haunts, lingering in the mind long after the last page. And next time you take to the open highway, it will make you think." Molly Knight, The Baltimore Sun
From critically acclaimed novelist Craig Nova comes the brilliantly-crafted story of two men, one on the fringes of society and the other safely ensconced in the role of lawman, whose deadly encounter will take the life of one and change forever the life of the other. Jake cruises the thin grey ribbons of the interstate highways in the middle of the night, waiting for speeders to chase down. Alone in his car, the threat of the lawless ever present in his thoughts, he distracts himself by thinking of Sophie, his girlfriend of several months. Alfred is a man who has never had a chance. From the time he was nine his mother would entertain men in their small bungalow one of whom eventually robbed him of his mother herself. He has been looking ever since for something to make him whole. Now, after an unspeakable crime, Alfred hits the highway with nothing to lose. Jake is waiting, not knowing what is coming but, as always, wondering.
About the Author
Craig Nova is the author of nine novels. He has received an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. His writing has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, and Men's Journal. He lives in Vermont.