Thursday, December 31, 2015
Review of The Getaway by Jim Thompson (1958, Orion)
The Getaway is considered a classic heist novel and has been adapted for the big screen a couple of times. The premise is straightforward. A gang of four criminals successfully heist a bank then immediately fall out and set upon each other. One is left dead before they have even left the bank. Doc McCoy, the gang mastermind, and Rudy fight and separate not far out of town. McCoy and his wife, Carol, take flight, but her lack of experience and Rudy’s murderous pursuit soon derails their plans. Moreover, despite their continued devotion, a seed of doubt and suspicion has been planted in the mind of each. Thompson keeps the pace high, with plenty of action and twists, while also exploring the evolving relationship between Doc and Carol. The result is an engaging and tense read that delivers both the spills and thrills of a heist and chase and the psychopathology of those involved. The weak spot, however, is the ending which swivels ninety degrees into an entirely different register. It might be literary and allegorical, but felt entirely out of place.