Galveston by Nick Pizzolatto

Galveston by Nick Pizzolatto

I knew the past wasn’t real. It was only an idea, and the thing I’d wanted to touch, to brush against, the feeling I couldn’t name—it just didn’t exist. It was only an idea, too.

Roy Cady is diagnosed with a terminal illness and if that ain’t bad enough, his boss wants to put him in the ground as soon as possible.  When he’s sent on a routine assignment and told not to pack heat, Cady senses that his end may be near.  He’s ambushed and while he stands his ground, barely making it out alive, he grabs a bundle of papers and a shocked, terrified young woman.  They both hit the road bound for Galveston.  The only question that lingers between them?  How far will they need to go to ditch the mob?

What is that you say?  The guy that created True Detective wrote a novel?  What a relief!  I guess I can stop stockpiling this army of Pepsi can soldiers.

Nic Pizzolatto wrote one hell of a tremendous first novel.  Galveston is violent, poetic and above all else, memorable.  Just like his signature character from True Detective Rust Cohle, Roy Cady spends a great deal of time theorizing about the present, the past, and just what the hell is so great about life anyway.

“I’ve found that all weak people share a basic obsession— they fixate on the idea of satisfaction. Anywhere you go men and women are like crows drawn by shiny objects. For some folks, the shiny objects are other people, and you’d be better off developing a drug habit.”

“Certain experiences you can’t survive, and afterward you don’t fully exist , even if you failed to die.”

The best way to describe Roy is Rust Cohle lite.  While Cady’s not as bleak, he’s certainly not walking around carrying a bouquet of daisies.  While he’s still equipped with one hell of a bullshit detector, at times he comes across as a little more forgiving, more accepting of others.

The acquisition of a terminal illness will certainly make you question your life up to that point.  Have I wasted it?  Why didn’t I do more with what I had?  Cady’s journey from diagnosis to anger to feeling nostalgic for days gone by is a heartbreaking one.  An ill advised meetup Roy has with an old flame will crack the most hardened emotional shell of any reader.

Galveston is a great read and an early front runner for my favorite novel read this year.  Based on the success of True Detective, I’d be surprised if Nic ever threw his hat back into the novel game.  As much as I’d love to read a sophomore effort, more True Detective is an apt trade.

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