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3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,859 Ratings  ·  855 Reviews
From the creator, writer, and executive producer of the HBO crime series True Detective, comes a dark and visceral literary debut set along the seedy wastelands of Galveston.

On the same day that Roy Cady is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he senses that his boss, a dangerous loan-sharking bar-owner, wants him dead. Known “without affection” to members of the boss’s crew
ebook, 272 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Scribner (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 10, 2015 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grit-lit
although i bought this book long before true detective existed, i never got around to reading it because i am the worst at reading. thank goodness for andrea, who gave me the kick in the pants when i actually had a tiny little gap of time to read books of my choosing, because this is both right in my wheelhouse and also a nice departure from many similar stories in that noir/grit lit genre.

there are similarities between this book and true detective - it's a story told in both the "now" and the
Dan Schwent
Mar 07, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, lendable
When terminally ill mob thug Roy Cady is instructed to do a job without taking bringing a gun, he gets suspicious. The situation goes south and soon Roy is on the run with a packet of important papers and an 18 year old sex kitten named Rocky. What will kill Roy first? The cancer or the mob?

Like everyone reading Galveston these days, I love HBO's True Detective, the best thing since sliced Breaking Bad. I'd planned to wait until the series wrapped before reading it but I finally said piss on it.
Hey authors! Want to sell more copies of your book? Just follow Nic Pizzolatto’s simple example and create a hit TV series for HBO that captivates the public. Then sit back and watch the sales increase. (It’ll help if you get Matthew McConaughey on board in the midst of an astounding career turnaround.)

Roy Cady is having a very bad day. First, he finds out that he’s dying, and then his criminal boss tries to accelerate the process by setting him up to be murdered. Roy manages to escape New Orlea

Timing is everything.

Don't let anyone fool you into thinkin it ain't. Cos the very day I decided to reengage in the Goodreads community just so happened to be the very day that Miss Paquita Maria Sanchez wrote a knock out little review of this here novel. And what Miss Paquita Maria Sanchez couldn't have known was that I had spent the past two months obsessing over a little television show written by a guy I had never heard of, Nic Pizzolatto. And that ever since it ended, I had a 'True Detectiv
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Mar 20, 2014 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Check out this lil' hidden gem by this unknown author that I found all by myself because I'm so book-savvy! I only read it because of an open mind and tendency to embrace the unfamiliar, carpe diem, dance like no one's watching, that homeless person could be Jesus, live off the cultural grid, he wrote True Detective.

Have you ever worked for or managed a family member or friend? People always think nepotism and cronyism mean you will get special treatment, and that's true, except in the opposite
Apr 16, 2014 Brandon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction, ebook, 2014
"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 gr
James Thane
Nov 11, 2011 James Thane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, noir
Roy Cady is having what can only be described as an especially bad day. In the afternoon, he discovers that he is terminally ill. Later that evening, he realizes that his boss, a New Orleans loan shark, is almost certainly setting him up to be killed. Roy manages to turn the tables on his would-be assassins and winds up on the run with a sexy young girl and her infant sister.

The trio makes its way to Galveston and holes up in a fleabag motel. There, Roy's larger story unfolds along with that of
Jul 22, 2014 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-noir
I've met people who I don't want to understand because to understand them would mean I was close enough to comprehend their brand of crazy. And I don't want live in proximity to crazy or, even worse, gruesome sadness or depression. But I know it's out there. It's why, junior year, I started studying for tests. I didn't want to land in a shitty apartment near the edge of Chicago's west side, riding the bus to my soul-draining factory job. And I had a decent middle class start, mind you, that poin ...more
Jul 05, 2014 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night, lit
The past isn't real and the last new song you liked is a long way in the past. You know you'll never get out alive but you hope to avoid a deadline, forty years from now you'll find yourself stumbling down a lightless highway where nobody knows your name. Galveston is THAT kind of novel and it's so nearly perfect in the same way that Pizzolatto's True Detective is and they both open you up to a world where nobody has anything left to lose and even if they did they wouldn't know what to do with i ...more
David Mcangus
Jan 23, 2014 David Mcangus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently watched the first episodes of True Detective and instantly fell for it. Like when hearing a song in your teenage years and thinking it was composed just for you, this show fits with my taste perfectly. Due to this, I picked up Nick Pizzolatto's novel hoping for a similar story that would tide me over.

What's instantly recognizable is the tone. It's reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, in that the narration is delivered with a permanent frown and doesn't hesitate to describe in detail how d
Feb 26, 2014 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roy Cady (“Big Country” to his enemies) is an enforcer for a New Orleans gangster, just south of 40, and diagnosed with cancer. It gets worse. Blood and carnage and death in a bleak room, but also a bit of luck, soon find Cady on the run. Along with him, improbably, is a young prostitute, Raquel (“Rocky”). Against every considerable survival instinct in his being, Roy decides not to abandon her. Is it a new sense of humanity brought on by his looming mortality? Or is it just simply that he recog ...more
Kealan Burke
Mar 07, 2014 Kealan Burke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shades of Lehane and McCarthy, and as with some of McCarthy's work, GALVESTON, at times, requires a modicum of patience from the reader.

Still, this is an impeccably written, almost poetic tale about the destruction of self, and how an inherently corrupt nature can be a black hole for those you wish to protect. It's a smart mediation on the inescapability of human frailty, and the consequences of our actions, however small, on our lives and the lives of those we love.

I applaud Pizzolato's decisio
Mar 20, 2014 Ed rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked Roy, Rocky and Tiffany and rooted for their survival in this rather gloomy work of atmospheric crime fiction. After a hot, one hundred MPH start, the fugitive trio ends up hiding out in a run down motel on the beach in Galveston, Texas where tight, fast paced crime fiction go to die. Way too much meanering soul searching dialogue ensued until what I thought was an unsatisfying wrap up at the end. Reading other GR 4 and 5 star reviews, I'm clearly in the minority on this book mainly becau ...more
Luís Miguel
Apr 15, 2015 Luís Miguel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
É um daqueles livros que se vende como um thriller banal, cuja única particularidade é ter sido escrito pelo criador de uma série de TV bem-sucedida. Quão enganado estava eu…
De facto, apresenta-se sob a capa enganadora da fórmula clássica da missão que corre mal e fuga alucinante da polícia e ex-colegas, mas é tão sinceramente retratado que nos compele a entrar nas vidas de Roy e Rocky. Em detalhe: pouco depois de lhe ter sido diagnosticado cancro dos pulmões, Roy é enviado para uma armadilha de
Galveston – Simply Stunning

Having read Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto it is easy to see why this has been an award winning debut novel from the creator of the HBO and Sky Atlantic series True Detectives. While in this crime thriller the police tend to play a walk on part he uses exactly the same creative devices used in True Detective. Those devices make you feel that you too are central to the story and telling this in the first person to someone makes you feel as if you are there in the first pe
May 15, 2014 Rayroy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is what modern day Noir should inspire to be, it's been two years since I read this book, yet it still remains fresh in the back of my head like smoke dancing upwords from a barel of a gun, a rank sea breeze at roadside motel no one checks in with joy on thier minds... So I'm late to the party but Nic Pizzolatto wrote or created True Detectives or something which is good means a shit ton of people are going to read this book but a part of me feels like fuck them where were they like two yea ...more
MSJ (Sarah)
I started reading with a blank slate. I had not yet watched a True Detective episode and I somehow missed the reviews for Galvaston. I purchased this on a whim late one night. It was only $2.99 and was listed as #1 in the crime category on Kindle so I decided to take a chance. My gamble paid off. It was superb. Nic Pizzolatto is an excellent writer. The way he crafted his sentences I could actually envision the Texas Gulf Coast that will never make it on a tourist brochure. The world he created ...more
Nov 11, 2015 Still rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Peter Rabe, Charles Williams, Gil Brewer
Recommended to Still by: I was a fan of the HBO series TRUE DETECTIVE

This really reminded me so much of a Charles Williams or Peter Rabe original paperback.
Maybe more Rabe than Williams.
Very much a page-turner. If I hadn't other things to attend to I probably could have knocked this out in one day.

It's action packed yet it's brooding.

I only know Nic Pizzolatto from his "True Detective" (HBO) series. I knew he was a gifted writer but I don't think I was prepared for the kind of superb character development to be found in this novel.

Some passages were real stand-o
Mar 01, 2014 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I opted to read this as I've recently become obsessed with True Detective, writer Nic Pizzolatto's metafictional/physical nightmare HBO crime procedural.
By and large this was a rather unremarkable piece of gritty crime suspense. There were moments of dull sheen resonance, moments when Pizzolatto traded grit for pathos. Here readers will notice Pizzolatto cutting his teeth on some of the more philosophical elements peppering True Detective, namely his philosophically informed take on theoretical
This was a good, fast story of a hitman/bagman, Roy Cady, who during one of his contracted jobs, ends up saving a bystander prostitute. Other hired killers who arrive at his job destination at the same time were obviously there to kill him. Roy is a definite loner who finds out he has cancer and has basically relinquished any thought of living much longer. Uncharacteristically, while on the run, he finds himself feeling responsible and protective of the prostitute, Rocky and her daughter.

Aug 24, 2015 orsodimondo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, americana
La questione non è se questo romanzo è all’altezza di True Detective, la magnifica serie tv ideata da Nic Pizzolatto.
[Come non lo è stabilire se la seconda stagione di True Detective sia all’altezza della prima, perché è meglio non confrontarle.]
La questione è stabilire se questo romanzo funziona e vale [e, caso mai, se anche True Detective 2 funziona e vale].
La risposta è semplice: sì [per la prima domanda, e no, per la seconda], ed è un piacere leggerlo nonostante la fastidiosa
Jun 23, 2015 Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of "True D" obviously, but also those interested in neo-noir
Recommended to Taylor by: HBO, in a way...
Like 80-90% of those who've read this, by now, I picked it up because I was completely enamored of Nic Pizzolatto's True Detective and found myself drawn to the myriad works that inspired it, and that crawled out of Pizzolatto's head.

Galveston was written long before the success of True D, but you can see the genesis of his characters, of what goes on in that brain of his, full of fucked up men who do fucked up things to other men and to women. A lot of people take issue with Pizzolatto's treatm
Edward Lorn
Mar 16, 2014 Edward Lorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 52-in-52-2014
GALVESTON Review If you choose to read GALVESTON, by Nick Pizzolatto, be prepared for one helluva tragic journey through a bleak landscape. I was drawn into the dingy atmosphere of this book and swept away into a world where I could see and smell and touch everything. Pizzolatto's prose is simplistic but punchy. The man knows how to say a whole lot with very little. There are no heroes here, and I'm especially fond of those types of tales.

The opening of the book is a gunshot to the face. The mid
I brought this book home two or three times last year because everyone else I knew was reading it, but it ended up each time languishing at the bottom of the pile for weeks before I’d give up on it & send it back. Insert obligatory True Detective reference: I watched the entire season twice in one week over my New Year’s time off, and I figured that although the premise of this book turned me on not at all (unlike young Rust Cohle – bad idea? Check. Would I anyway? Oh my yes), I figured I’d ...more
Jul 25, 2014 Kurt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In this climate all things seek shade, and so a basic quality of the Deep South is that everything here is partially hidden."

Your response to this quote probably serves as a good parallel to how you'll respond to the book as a whole. The idea, when you think it through, is not nearly as deep as it seems: in every climate, living things seek shelter ("In Fargo all things seek shelter for warmth," or "In Seattle all things seek hidden places to stay dry," or.. Look, it works for anywhere.). The u
Jul 23, 2015 Stian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, owned-books
Marty Hart: "Do you wonder ever if you're a bad man?"
Rustin Cohle: "No. I don't wonder, Marty. World needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door."

Like almost everyone else, I decided to read this book after watching True Detective, which is probably my favourite TV show of all time (barring Futurama). If you haven't watched it, I highly encourage you to do so: it's brilliant.

This book does have a lot in common with True Detective. It's grim, oftentimes brutal, and it deals with many
Carac Allison
May 22, 2014 Carac Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
So a few nights ago I was wandering around my home town, singing the theme from True Detective at the top of my lungs and wondering what the hell happened to my Batman pyjamas. An acoustic accompaniment surged up from the brickwork and echoed along the inky blackness of the Leeds/Liverpool like the ghosts of dead navvies playing for their souls. And then I woke up, lurid trouserware restored. You can't get away from Nic Pizzolatto's enthralling tv series even in the embrace of Morpheus. Having r ...more
William Johnson
When I started reading the noir genre with the classics (Hammett, Chandler, etc), I was shocked at how provocative they are compared to the time they were released. When I think of the media of the '20s/30/40s/50s, etc, I always thought of 'wholesome' or 'mild' when it came to sex and violence. Those books obviously made me see differently. It was not only a violent time in real life but in the literary world as well.

However, in 2013 we are kind of jaded. On HBO you can see more horrific violenc
This was just great - had everything that I love in a book:
Great characters, twists and turns in the plot, a tragic but satisfying ending and some truly shocking scenes. Also combined with two storylines from different time periods which I always enjoy in the buildup to seeing how it all comes together. Plus all told in a way (main character has cancer and there was also a great scene where he looks up an old girlfriend) that brings you to deeper thoughts than you'd expect from this sort of book
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Nic Pizzolatto is an American novelist, screenwriter, and producer. Pizzolatto was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was educated at the University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University. The author of two books, he taught fiction and literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Chicago, and DePauw University before leaving academia in 2010.

His first novel,
More about Nic Pizzolatto...

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“Certain experiences you can't survive, and afterward you don't fully exist, even if you failed to die.” 63 likes
“When it worked, reading could take away the burden of time.” 30 likes
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