Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Down on the Street by Alec Cizak
How does an average Joe – his name is actually Lester – get himself into so much trouble? As Mickey Spillane might answer, “It was easy.”
Getting himself out of trouble becomes nearly impossible in this tense, gritty novel.
Lester is a city cab driver barely making it. He resides in the meanest, crummiest apartment house where there is only one bright spot – at least it is bright to him – Chelsea, a young woman living across the hall. Chelsea is a nasty sexpot who gives Lester a tumble one night, but rejects him the next day. He eats his heart out for her as he witnesses a nightly parade of men tramping in and out of her place.
Neither Lester nor Chelsea can make a go of life until Lester gets the bright idea to go into partnership with her. Their business is the oldest profession, with the ineffectual Lester as her pimp and protector.
Hey, what could go wrong?
Cizak’s novel will raise a reader’s anxiety level into the red zone. His writing makes it impossible to stop reading.
The story of these two people reminded me in many ways of Charles Willeford’s 1955 noir novel, Pick-Up (reviewed here), with a touch of Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver.”
Down on the Street, which came out in 2017, is a frightening, nerve jangling tale.