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Drive (Drive #1)

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,179 Ratings  ·  628 Reviews
Much later, as he sat with his back against an inside wall of a Motel 6 just north of Phoenix, watching the pool of blood lap toward him, Driver would wonder whether he had made a terrible mistake. Later still, of course, there'd be no doubt. But for now Driver is, as they say, in the moment. And the moment includes this blood lapping toward him, the pressure of dawn's lat ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 160 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Poisoned Pen Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Derus
Sep 13, 2012 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Description: “Much later, as he sat with his back against an inside wall of a Motel 6 just north of Phoenix, watching the pool of blood lap toward him, Driver would wonder whether he had made a terrible mistake. Later still, of course, there'd be no doubt. But for now Driver is, as they say, in the moment. And the moment includes this blood lapping toward him, the pressure of dawn's late light at windows and door, traffic sounds from the interstate nearby, the sound o
...more
Lou
Driver did not want to know the details of the job he was on, all he did was drive.
He was on the streets in the beginning without a penny to his name then a fate encounter in a bar hooked him up with the stunt car driving world. You won't find this great story telling but a biography of one man's plight in the concrete jungle. He was not brought up with a silver spoon in his mouth but was street savvy and knew how to get by. He could out smart the players. As always the glamorous life of a stun
...more
James Thane
Sep 27, 2011 James Thane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, noir
This is an excellent contemporary noir novel in which a character becomes caught up by circumstances largely beyond his control and must then struggle to somehow survive.

The main protagonist, Driver, is a stunt driver for the movies, and there's none better. But he also moonlights driving for robberies, and the thrill is principally in the driving itself rather than in the monetary rewards. He makes his position clear to anyone who wants to employ his services: "I drive. That's all I do. I don't
...more
Tfitoby
May 22, 2012 Tfitoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
Did you see the movie yet? I saw it last year, expecting to be overwhelmed by a genius piece of film making; the hype was massive, the right people were saying the right things, Oscars were mentioned and instead what I got was a very good but not brilliant, subtle piece of noir film making.

Moving on to today and I have read the novel, complete with the face of Ryan Gosling on the cover, my first experience of James Sallis and a novel that has been called "a minor masterpiece by at least two sepa
...more
Gabby
Long story short: I saw this book at the library and I wanted to read it. I saw the movie a few years ago and it's one of my favorite movies and I wasn't even aware that it was a book, and the book is only 150 pages with pretty big font so I was able to finish it in a little over an hour, but wow this was nothing like the movie. I mean it was, but it wasn't. I didn't like how it was written, it's so detached from the main character Driver, and maybe it's meant to be that way (I mean we don't eve ...more
Trekscribbler
There's an old adage amongst some of us online reviewers that kinda/sorta goes like this: if you have to resort to frequently using words like "perfect," "riveting," "startling," and "stunning," you're more than likely describing what the story isn't for the average person because the average person -- the casual reader, Joe Six Pack with a good in his hands -- tends to find these adjectives descriptive of very specific events in his life ... events like falling in love, throwing the game-winnin ...more
Ben Winch
May 15, 2012 Ben Winch rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What the f**k is this about? Why's the chronology all skewed? Does Driver give back the money or doesn't he? If he does, why?! And what's in the bag he leaves for his foster parents?!! If he doesn't, then why's he so pissed at Nino for not honouring the deal? Who set him up anyway? Why?! How?!! Maybe there are answers in here - maybe I just can't be bothered finding them. But my strong impression is that Sallis can't be bothered either, that to him it's all about style, and that some part of him ...more
Adam
Oct 15, 2007 Adam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
The NY Times called James Sallis's Drive, "a perfect piece of noir fiction," but as usual they've got their heads up their asses, since Drive is a book that would be more accurately described as, "a perfect piece of shit." Sallis is actually a pretty good writer line-by-line and paragraph-by-paragraph, but he can't construct a book-length narrative to save his life. Drive jumps around in time, mostly to disguise the fact that its plot is stupid, its main character is less interesting than Of Mic ...more
Richard Vialet
*Re-Read in 2015 (originally read in May 2011)*

I've been on sort of a casual James Sallis binge lately, so I decided to squeeze in a re-read of the first book I read by him. I liked it a lot more this time, which might be due to the fact that I'm more familiar with his writing, or I'm in just a different mindset. In Drive, Sallis tries his hand at a hard-boiled, Parker-style heist story. And while being true to all the conventions of the genre, he still infuses it with his own trademark style: m
...more
Wendy,  Lady Evelyn Quince
When the best thing I can say about a book is that at the very least I can say I've read it, that’s sort of like saying, “Oh, chicken pox, I had that once! Root canal with Novocain wearing off, yup, I know the feeling. ! Hemorrhoids, and explosive diarrhea, I hear you!”—well, you get my drift…

Writer James Sallis's novella, “Drive” reads like something that would be assigned in a freshman English college course: a terrible, post-modern action tale with tons of characters, ever-changing POVs and a
...more
Sarah
Jun 23, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most of the recent reviewers, I read this after seeing the movie, which undoubtedly changed how I viewed the book. Still, I have to say that I preferred the movie, and not just because of this: Although I won't lie, that face definitely helps. Oof.

Style-wise, Drive was pretty fantastic. It's got such a cool, urban, haunting sort of tone going for it, and the writing could be really great.

But in terms of substance, it was just sorely lacking. Mysterious, invincible Driver makes for a stylis
...more
Michael
May 13, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, crime, mystery, 2000s
There was so much to like about this book but there were also some things that really bugged me as well. Driver is a mysterious protagonist but I felt he talked far too much for something that would have been more suited as the strong silent type. I’m not sure if he was supposed to be written that way but for me, the impression I received from the character and whenever he spoke, didn’t seem to fit my image of him. There has been a recent movie made about this book and I’m keen to see it but I h ...more
David
Oct 02, 2011 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-white-square
I liked the film because it didn't take itself too seriously. It was "Grand Theft Auto: The Movie" complete with Vice City's sexy pink font.

The book has less of a sense of humour, and it presented a much stranger world. What was with all the weird friendships in bars? Do straight American men really buy each other burgers and then go back to a trailer to drink bourbon and watch movies? Aren't these "tough guys" ever self-conscious? Driver leaves a huge amount of money, a homeless dog and a thoug
...more
Adam
Nov 24, 2009 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-comedy
Drive is stark, brutal, beautiful, and perfect. Language cut to the bone but retaining a beautiful flow.. Emotional, detailed descriptions of food, music and cars while the equally omnipresent violence and death is presented in a matter of fact dead pan. A narrative pitched between 40's noir, 70's cult flick, and a French existential novel. Funny, furious and readable, Sallis should be ranked with, while not quite resembling, American existentialists like McCarthy, Denis Johnson, Lucius Shepard, ...more
Emily
Jul 06, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-lit
Chris and I both loved the film adaptation of Drive and thus wanted to read the novel, well novella really, that it is based on.

The screenplay definitely takes it in a different direction, adding far more romance than the novel includes, which I can't help but like, but there's a lot in the book that doesn't get captured - scraps and pieces of who Driver is before he comes to LA. While you wouldn't think the inspiration for one of the best action films of 2011 would, the novel deals with huge t
...more
Terry
Sep 12, 2007 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: neo-noir fans; anybody
Shelves: modernnoir
Driver (the only name we know him by) is physically small, perhaps even slightly S-L-O-W, son of a small-time burglar, a reader of noirs by George Pelecanos, a Hollywood hanger-on and stunt driver. Despite these deficits, he can drive like some NASCAR fool, but better because he drives the streets on special jobs evading cops, improvising like a jazz musician. That's all he does: Drive. He eschews muscle-jobs or killings.

But when one of Driver's associates shotguns two innocent bystanders while
...more
Ed [Redacted]
Another book about a getaway driver, DRIVE is a tightly written, dirty, gritty fast read. Sallis is an excellent writer who really focused on character development somewhat at the expense of the rather thin plot. There were some brilliant turns of phrase in this book and the non-linear narrative style worked for me, though it might not work for everyone. I was hooked from the first sentence, one somewhat reminiscent of an old Parker book;

"Much later, as he sat with with his back against an insid
...more
Samolakisses
May 11, 2012 Samolakisses rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Are all these people giving this novella and movie 4 and 5 star reviews morons? I checked out the book AFTER seeing that monstrosity of a movie and I couldn't get into it. It was so terrible. How in the world did anyone allow this thing to be made into a movie is beyond me?

Don't listen to all of these people recommending the movie either. They have terrible taste in cinema. Long awkward silences by the characters, terrible dialogue and situations, and Ryan Gosling seems to be mentally impaired
...more
Kirk
Jan 28, 2012 Kirk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've rounded up to four for the sake of symmetry but really, this was a 3-1/2er for me. Knocked 'er off one night in about two hours after seeing the movie wouldn't be out for another week and that Amazon was hocking it for less than $6. I love the idea of this book but I think it's better in theory. Or maybe just not fully realized. This essentially old school Camus with a detached narrator who's such a high plains drifter he not only can't connect but has no desire to. Or so the premise wants ...more
Mohammed
Aug 16, 2010 Mohammed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Noir, modern or classic ones
Shelves: noir
A short novel with only 158 pages but it has more energy,thought,feeling than books twice its lenght.

Its a modern Noir story as it should be written like. With style,skill,good characters.
Bandit
Sep 18, 2014 Bandit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw the film adaptation when it came out on DVD and remember being distinctly underwhelmed by the extremely overstylized cinematic adaptation, but I've since discovered Sallis as an author, so I thought I'd see how the story looks on page and surprise, surprise it is so much better as a book. Sallis' writing might be acquired taste, but I genuinely enjoy his succinct economic style, the way he manages to tell a story in such a slender volume, character development, action and all. Most impress ...more
Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*


I'm not going to waste much time on this one. I've read some raving reviews about this book and quite frankly I'm confused by them.

There was absolutely nothing enjoyable about this book for me. The plotline is interesting but the way the story is written ruins that. The prose is reminiscent of grade school reports. His style, if you want to call it that, is very bland and although easy to read also rather annoying. Sallis - As Driver - makes bold, sweeping statements about life with no back sto
...more
Charles
Oct 30, 2010 Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a noir novella, and is a masterpiece. Some folks are troubled by the fact that sections are told out of linear sequence. I didn't find that a problem. I think it's one of the best noir books ever.
Rebecca
Sep 25, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this movie last week and decided to read the book. This is one of a handful of experiences where I've liked the movie better.

"Drive" is an interesting tale but told out of sequence and often confusing. At times Driver seems like a young adult, barely in his twenties. At others, he seems to be pushing 50 and you wonder what all that liquor and fatty food is doing to his heart. The clues in the text don't help. Some of the references are for sixties cars so you think you're in the sixties bu
...more
Marnie (Miss Snow)
Dopo aver visto il bellissimo film con Ryan Gosling, mi sono precipitata a leggere questo. Mi intrigava la storia di come questo sociopatico eremita, poeta della guida, potesse mettere in gioco tutto per amore.
Esistono due tipi di Driver, quello Sallisiano e quello Goslinghiano. Mentre quest'ultimo appare come una silenziosa creatura, che trasuda emozioni solo con gli occhi, l'altro ci viene rappresentato come molto più "duro", più feroce ed espansivo. Se quello cinematografico ha come unico sc
...more
Roberto Ochoa Ramos
De entrada es una novela con pocas paginas y demasiados capítulos, el asunto es que cada capitulo no tiene un orden cronológico de los hechos, lo cual es confuso, por otro lado cada capitulo se devora con una facilidad y con un gusto que pocas veces he encontrado en una novela y mas si esta esta en ingles. Drive es una de mis películas favoritas, por su estética, por su fotografía, por su actuación pero sobre todo por que tiene grandes personajes y esto brilla en la novela.
No solo eso, sino que
...more
Chad Davis
I made a review as brief, fleeting, and colorless as the novella.

The story was compelling enough to read within two days, but the plot and characters were seriously underdeveloped. At times, I found the dialogue to be unrealistic and unconvincing. Driver is never really as shrewd and savvy as he is made out to be. The plot is heavy-handed and very rushed. Sallis rarely slows down to establish the scenery or the characters' actions. The characters kind of float by with disembodied voices, and we
...more
Alyce Rocco
Did not much like reading James Sallis' book, Drive. Novels often tell a story using flashbacks, but drive flipped and flopped through time, so much it was hard to tell if an event was happening in now time or in the past or after the murder at the start.

I kept expecting more details to emerge about that killing, because I had a hard time picturing exactly how it happened. The story reads like a first person narrative, tough guy, but it is not, which added to the confusing read. Drive could have
...more
Diarmuid Hester
Aug 15, 2011 Diarmuid Hester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Sallis' Drive is in many ways an inversion the noir thriller, for whom plot and character are historically enshrined (such that, like much genre fiction, each instance is often simply another adumbration of the same). Traditional tropes remain (the murder, the chase, the blonde, the staccato dialogue) yet narrative progression is dislocated, changing gears mid-sentence and mysteriously shifting pace and setting. Character development also seems superfluous: though we quickly move through D ...more
Carlos Garcia
Feb 09, 2013 Carlos Garcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aunque tiene una narrativa algo extraña y confusa, los lectores que se queden con las páginas de James Sallis van a encontrar una novela existencialista con toques muy obscuros, no tan diferente de El Extranjero de Albert Camus.

El haber visto la adaptación a filme de la novela (la razón original por la que quise leerla, y que puedo recomendar hagan lo mismo) me ayudó a imaginarme físicamente los entornos y los actores, y en esto caso creo que enriqueció mi experiencia por una sola razón: la adap
...more
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Which is better: the book or the film? 7 45 Jul 19, 2015 04:32PM  
Some, ambiguous expressions in James Sallis' 'Drive' 2 37 Feb 27, 2012 03:23AM  
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James Sallis (born 21 December 1944 in Helena, Arkansas) is an American crime writer, poet and musician, best known for his series of novels featuring the character Lew Griffin and set in New Orleans, and for his 2005 novel Drive, which was adapted into a 2011 film of the same name.
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“Maybe he should turn around. Go back and tell them that’s what life was, a long series of things that didn’t go down the way you thought they would.
Hell with it. Either they’d figure it out or they wouldn’t. Most people never did.”
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“He existed a step or two to one side of the common world, largely out of sight, a shadow, all but invisible. Whatever he owned, either he could hoist it on his back and lug it along or he could walk away from it. Anonymity was the thing he loved most about the city, being a part of it and apart from it at the same time.” 13 likes
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