I guess when you win the National Book award you can afford to write a breezy 200 page noir novel for the likes of Playboy. Serialized, released in four sections and, finally, here in novel form, this is precisely what the doctor ordered for Kevin after his bout with 2666. The mere fact that this book exists seems strange at first, although you quickly gather that Johnson is not straying terribly far from the grimy, distinctly American, characters and roots that have always served as the foundation of his fiction.
Point in case, Jimmy Luntz – the protragonist if you will – “never felt so comfortable or so at home as when lying on his back and listening to the far-off music of the referee’s ten count.” Every noir needs a Femme Fatale and Nobody Move is no exception. Except, in this case, you get a woman who is terribly down on her luck and whose idea of respite is mixing vodka with lemonade and watching boxing films in the afternoon while her life unravels outside the theater.
In minor ways, this is like a jazzed up and poppy version of Johnson’s first (and excellent) novel Angels. The dramatic weight, however, has been lifted. Instead, we are left with something that would feel more at home on black and white celluloid. It is replete with cigarettes, booze, magnums and dialog that nooone would come up with off the top of their head. Read with one’s mind on a good time, Nobody Move fulfills exactly what it promises. It made me think of Safe House, actually. The whole time I was reading it I was itching to adapt it and hand it off to one of you folks who deal with cameras. Any takers? John? Thomas? How do copywrite laws work, anyway?