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Resume Speed

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  579 ratings  ·  84 reviews
From the legendary author of A Walk Among the Tombstones comes this gripping tale of sudden endings and new beginnings. When a man called Bill spots a sign in a restaurant window, he grabs his carry-on and gets off his bus. Within an hour he’s got himself a job as a short-order cook, and a start on a whole new life in Cross Creek, Montana. Things just fall into place. He a ...more
Hardcover, 97 pages
Published December 31st 2016 by Subterranean Press (first published February 16th 2016)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Bill sees a help wanted sign in a diner as the bus is going through a small time. He gets off the bus and ends up with a job in the diner. You know that he has some demons following him and wonder if his past is going to catch up with him. Is he deluding himself? Or is this that fresh start?
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At around one hundred pages I'm surprised at how fast I was dropped into the story and was totally invested. I haven't read anything by Lawrence Block before and now that I have I want some more please.

Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this from NetGalley for review.

At the start of this we meet a man called Bill who is an awful hurry to catch a bus out of town, but as soon as he’s over the state line he immediately gets a job as a cook at a diner and starts establishing a new life there.

You may think that sounds a bit fishy, but honestly who among us hasn’t hopped a bus out of town and changed their identity?

This new novella from esteemed mystery writer Lawrence Block is a bit of an odd duck. It’s mai
Dan Schwent
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, 2016-books
When Bill, a man with a drinking problem and a dark past, arrives in Cross Creek, Montana, things just seem perfect. Can he settle down and forget his past long enough to start a new life or will it all catch up with him?

I got this from Net Galley.

This was one entertaining slice of noir pie. Ala mode, of course.

A drifter named Bill wanders into a Montana town and tries to start a life for himself. Will his past run him down like a beer truck with no brakes? Probably.

Lawrence Block's writing goes
Andrew Smith
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a huge fan of Lawrence Block’s prose. He’s churned out well over a hundred books – a mix of novels, novellas, short stories and non-fiction - over the years, and the quality has been remarkably consistent; his Scudder series is considered by many to be his finest work and these books were penned from 1976 right up to 2011. This latest novella – I’m not sure when he wrote it but it’s only just been released – is a delicious soupçon of noir.

A man catches a bus out of town, in a hurry, and only
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book "Resume Speed" by Lawrence Block crosses the finish line at a little less than one hundred pages. Upon reading the novella, even though it takes place in modern time, the story harkens back has the accoutrements of a time gone by.

The main character named Bill commutes by bus, he also works in diners as a short order cook. Most of the story takes place in Bills head and we experience Bill's observations and reflections.

Most of the tale encomposes the new life that Bill is trying to build
How life usually works, you ask?

The answer to some of the people: makes a mess, runs from it, repeats.

That's basically what had happened to our MC as he hops onto a bus and runs off to another small town to, well, starts over. However, sure as hell we all know things just don't work out for him that easily, things just tend to not be easy for most people, right?

The air of suspense lingers slightly in the air, and the description of the American small town is simple but good, although I am a bit
Benjamin Thomas
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, mystery-crime
Any new piece of fiction by the prolific Lawrence Block is always an expected treat and this novella is no exception. It’s a look at a cross-section in the life of one Bill Thompson, an apparent drifter who finds himself starting over in small town Montana. After quickly finding a job as a short-order cook and a place to stay for a week at a time he begins to settle in to an almost idyllic life and setting. The simple life gets even better as it becomes evident he has a knack for innovative idea ...more
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Another book from the rich stories written by Lawrence Block. Resume Speed is a novella and reading it you feel every word has been carefully chosen and will be something good to read.
There was no disappointment over than it was just a short story, but long enough to pack a punch.
It is the story of a man taking a journey on a bus; he alights when he reaches a small town many stops before his actual destination. Is he a drifter? or as in Westerns that outsider, the stranger in town. Does he have
Linda Strong
Bill sees a sign in a restaurant window. He grabs his bag and gets off the bus. Within a very short time he has a job. He's starting a whole new life in Cross Creek. Montana.

His life continues to look up .. he gets a chance to buy the restaurant, he dates the local librarian, he's looking at apartments, he gets a drivers license and a car to go with it.

He finds a small cafe with for rent computers. He looks up a name .. a name from his past. Are they still looking for him? Who is he? Who is look
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, b

From the legendary author of A Walk Among the Tombstones comes this gripping tale of sudden endings and new beginnings. When a man called Bill spots a sign in a restaurant window, he grabs his carry-on and gets off his bus. Within an hour he’s got himself a job as a short-order cook, and a start on a whole new life in Cross Creek, Montana. Things just fall into place. He applies for a library card, and the next thing you know he’s having dinner with the librarian. One thing le
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a short book this one packs one helluva punch!
There is no way I can minimally describe this novella without spoiling it for others, but if you already like this author's work and have not read this one - take it for the rewarding ride that it is.
Available through Kindle Unlimited
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Good, very quick read. Block is a good writer and he manages to make you care about many of the characters in such a short amount of time and he also makes the town of Cross Creek, Montana feel real. The ending left me puzzled and wanting more but in a good way. I liked this and it’s definitely worth the time because it’s so short but well done.
Ross Cumming
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short 60 page novella from Lawrence Block but is well up to his usual high standard and it is extremely readable and enjoyable.
'Bill' is a drifter and gets off the Spokane bus at Cross Creek when he sees a notice in the window of a diner for a short order cook and he immediately get the job. He finds lodgings and not long after that he strikes up a relationship with the local librarian. However just when things are looking up for Bill the story takes a darker turn when Bill's memories
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Depressing novella about a man running from his past. Block's prose is as smooth as it gets.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Grand Master strikes again with a fine, classic noir novella.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wanderer, a drifter of sorts, Bill Thompson gets off the bus in a Montana town he never heard of, soon finds a short order cook job at a diner in town, makes some friends and settles into a good life.

But can he? Somewhere in his past he seems to have missing times, dark times, that unsettles him enough to board the next bus to yet another small town.

Could this time be different? He has a job, a chance to own something, a chance to have a meaningful relationship. Lawrence Block hones a characte
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A man gets on the Trailways bus in Galbraith, North Dakota. When he gets off in the small Montana town of Cross Creek, he calls himself Bill Thompson. The “Help Wanted” sign in the front window of a Greek-styled diner called out to him; soon enough he’s got the job as the diner’s fry cook, a room at the local boarding house, two ounces of bourbon every night, and a budding romance with the local librarian. Everything he’s ever wanted in life. Everything he’s ever needed. But what he doesn’t have ...more
There are many facets of fiction-writing that Lawrence Block is an acknowledged master of, in either short story or novel form or both. One of those is the "slow boil," especially in his shorter fiction. I realize that sounds like a contradiction in terms: how can a short piece have slower builds than a novel? The thing with a novel is, the slow build of tension is a necessity. The author has to set several plots to heating, and has to fill several hundred pages before any of them can come to a ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Resume Speed by Lawrence Block is a quirky stand-alone novella. The stranger with little more than the clothes on his back gets off the bus in the small town of Cross Creek, Montana after seeing a help wanted sign in a local diner. He goes by the name Bill Thompson. He keeps to himself and slowly begins a quiet existence in the small town.

He does that by taking the job as a fry cook. He takes a room in a local boarding house, gets a library card, and gradually begins to assume an identity among
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Omg loved this! Picked it up at the library off the 'new shelf,' and what a great, quick, wonderful read from an often overlooked great writer.

Bill Thompson - is that his real name? - drops himself off in a small Montana town with nothing but a suitcase. He gets a job, rents a room, finds a girl, and seems to have it all. But who is he? Drifter? Loner? Killer? Running from a killer? Assassin? You just don't know!

So the suspense is in figuring out who this man is, what he wants, what's he here fo
John Defrog
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been reading Lawrence Block’s books for over 30 years now, and this novella is a compact masterclass illustrating why. The basic concept is a well-worn one in crime fiction – drifter with a dark, mysterious past tries a fresh start on life in a new town, but his past catches up with him. But it's how you tell it, and Block tells it so well, with the crisp economical narrative style and dialogue typical of his work, and brilliant pacing. As Bill Thompson settles in Cross Creek, Montana, the ...more
May 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"gripping tale of sudden endings and new beginnings". Hardly. This is a long short story (and not really a short novella). It's interesting and well written, but slight.

I want to point out that the story isn't clearly located in time. The protaganist acquires a driver's license by first subscribing to Time Magazine, getting a local library card, and showing DMV both a copy of the magazine with the address label and his library card, as identification. No birth certificate or social security card
A man arrives in a small town. He doesn't need much, and probably won't stay long. But then he got a job at the diner, a place of his own, and a library card. Why is he there? What can't he remember? Who is he, really?

It brought to mind some of Ray Bradbury's short stories, which I also enjoyed, and it's rare to see something so different from regular short fiction offerings. If you like a mysterious hero (think Reacher without the military background), it's definitely worth a look.

Disclaimer: I
Tina Thompson
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Resume Speed

Mr. Block's novella, Resume Speed, is a little different from his other writing. For one thing, it's NOT based in New York City! It has an almost Stephen King-like undertone. I found myself waiting for the monster to be revealed. Read the story. You'll see what I mean.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A melancholic novella from Mr. Block. A crime story without a crime. Or is it?
Ryan J.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lawrence Block is a great crime and mystery writer. In this novella, he spins a great tale of love, loss, and crime. Great twists and turns, and a fast-fun-short read. Grab a copy!
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This brand new release by the modern day marvel of the mystery genre is a fast paced testimony to the power of a pure soul. The first half of the book focuses on two principal characters - Bill Thompson (small town cook and overall ladies man) and the local librarian, (Carlene) who sees our Bill and decides that she likes what she sees enough to befriend him. And more.

Questions abound for the alert reader but the story moves along at a nice enough pace to allow you to put those on hold for a whi
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A mystery man becomes his own enemy in a sleepy Montana town

tl;dr at Overall, as always.

Bill, or so he says, gets on a bus at Galbraith and, seeing a "Help needed" sign, disembarks at Cross Creek. This is a new start for him, a simple beginning in a small town, away from the bustling cities and their dangers.
At first it reads like a fantasy, not the orcs-and-elves kind but the you-are-capable-of-greatness kind. Bill gets off the bus, takes a job as a cook, finds love, finds stability. This might
Craig Childs
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lawrence Block returns with a novella of “slow burn” psychological suspense. It begins with Bill Thompson boarding a bus in the night, blood and scratches on his arms, running away from an event he does not clearly remember from the night before. The story follows him for several months as he attempts to put together the pieces of his life in a new town. Most of the narrative concerns itself with how he makes new human connections, finds companionship, and begins to build a new future for himsel ...more
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, 2017-reads
For some reason, this book by a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master didn't make an impression on me. I've enjoyed Lawrence Block's books in the past. I own and have read his non-fiction book on writing because of my respect for and enjoyment of other books he's written. This novella seems to leave the reader hanging. But perhaps that's the idea. The protagonist, whom it is assumed goes by several names, is being haunted by ghosts of his past. He repeats patterns and can't remember patches of ...more
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Lawrence Block has been writing crime, mystery, and suspense fiction for more than half a century. He has published in excess (oh, wretched excess!) of 100 books, and no end of short stories.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., LB attended Antioch College, but left before completing his studies; school authorities advised him that they felt he’d be happier elsewhere, and he thought this was remarkably perceptiv

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