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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  12,938 ratings  ·  1,277 reviews
Recalling the moody violence of the early novels of Cormac McCarthy and Denis Johnson, a dark and visceral debut set along the seedy wastelands of Galveston by a young writer with a hard edge to his potent literary style. 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 “ ...more
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Scribner Book Company (first published May 20th 2010)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  12,938 ratings  ·  1,277 reviews

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Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
David Putnam
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great novel one that should have a lot more recognition. I wish this author would write more novels. I think he's busy writing television. If you like great noir crime fiction give this one a go. It open by setting a great conflict with x-ray.

David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson series.
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked 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
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Weltschmerz. It's not a word that anyone in this book would use, but they sure did feel it. The world weariness applied universally. Nobody’s fools. If you’ve come to know Nic Pizzolatto from True Detective, the stellar* HBO series that he created and wrote, you’d expect that.

This is neo-noir at its finest. Underbelly settings, violence you can’t escape, sex, drugs, and cancer if not manslaughter—it’s all there, presented with more poetry than you might expect. Roy Cady, a debt collector for a N
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
. . . I sat on a stool and ordered a beer. Then I remembered I was dying and changed the order to a Johnnie Walker Blue.

Damn straight!

What a strange reading experience this was . . .

The premise seemed so compelling - a terminally ill mob hitman becomes the target of his employers, and yet, I found the characters to be lifeless and dull; the book was impossibly easy to put down. Then, at slightly over the halfway point, the main character goes to visit an old flame. Yowza! What a fantastic scene
Paquita Maria Sanchez
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
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016

“This has really been one hell of a day for you, huh, man?”
“The hellest.”

Roy Cady is a big, tough guy doing an ugly, tough job: debt collector for a New Orleans gangster. And his world is just about to come crashing down over his tough head. In the morning, his doctor tells him he has lung cancer and only a few month left to live. Then his trashy girlfriend starts sleeping with his boss, and his evening collection job ends up in a bloodbath. Roy finishes the day on the run towards his childhoo
This short, moody novel opens with mob muscle/strongarm guy Roy Cady finding out that he's diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. While accepting his imminent death, he fatefully crosses paths with a young prostitute named Rocky who ends up on the run with him. It's a gorgeously written debut novel with sequences that took my breath away. There's a scene where Roy visits an old girlfriend where you can feel his yearning for the past oozing out of the words, even while she remembers that past very ...more

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
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gloomy book. Not a happy book. But a good book.
I believe people call it 'gritty' here at goodreads. I knew it was good when I found it.
James Thane
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: noir, crime-fiction
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
Sam Quixote
Roy, a bagman for the mob, gets a hit put on his head the same day he’s diagnosed with cancerous lungs. Escaping the gangsters on his trail, he picks up a young prostitute called Rocky along the way and her kid sister Tiffany, and they hide out in Galveston, Texas. The small group seems bereft of a future – where do they go from here?

Like most people I only picked this novel up because I’m a fan of Nic Pizzolatto’s TV show True Detective (the first season anyway!). I thought Galveston was a pre
Feb 19, 2014 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
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit, black-as-night
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
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
When I read this back in 2010, the gritty but tender protagonist stole my heart. Because the story travels the Gulf coast from New Orleans to Texas, it felt like home as that is my stomping ground. When the named hurricane intersects the tale, it is a storm I remember well. Obviously, all of these factors add up to an easy calculation for me loving the story. But it is the outstanding writing talent of the author that sealed this for me.

In a nutshell, a bad guy decides to turn good. Mobsters and
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
David Mcangus
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
Jan 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriller
Sometimes I think I am reading a completely different book than everyone else.
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Edward Lorn
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 m
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.

Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Tom Mathews
This debut novel from the mind that brought us HBO's True Detective series is loaded with atmosphere and well crafted characters with little to look forward to in life. What it lacks is a compelling plot to keep me turning pages.

Thanks to the folks at the Pulp Fiction group for introducing this and many other fine books.
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very good grit lit book. I felt sorry for the narrator. He never earned my pity and I am sure he would not want it, but somehow he managed to get this feeling from me. Very well written and I enjoyed all the heartache the author provided.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I lived in the mind of the protagonist, a hit/bag man in New Orleans who finds himself on the wrong side of his sleazy boss and takes to the road with a young girl who he tries to save. Roy is a largely damaged hero, and his worldview is shaped by a troubled upbringing. His "recovery" after a horrific beating is told beautifully as he ekes out a life on the margins of Galveston. The gulf environment and people are powerfully detailed, and the dialogue is sharp and revealing in the manner of Wood ...more
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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,

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