Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dog Eat Dog

Edward Bunker
Dog Eat Dog Road, 2011 (digital)
(Originally published in 1996, by St. Martin's)

Troy Cameron, son of the law-abiding citizens from Beverly Hills, is released after a second prolonged serving time. In prison, Troy read (including Joyce), thought about the nature of things, did push-ups and sit-downs to keep fit, and planned how to hit the jackpot with enough money till the end of life somewhere in the house on the beach. Shortly before the release, Troy receives an interesting offer from a friend. Troy with accomplices have to rob the pimps, drug dealers and other offenders who, in the case of a robbery, will not be able call the law. His friends whom he has known since the reform school are already waiting for him. One of them is a maniac and a cocaine user, nicknamed Mad Dog, the second, Diesel Carson, is a fixer who works for the local crime boss. Diesel and Mad Dog can’t tolerate each other not both love Troy, considering him a criminal genius.

Finding himself free, and rested a couple of days, Troy meets with his buddies, and together they drive to Los Angeles, the hometown of Troy, where they are to do a robbery (on a tip from a lawyer) of a black drug dealer. And if in this case everything goes smoothly, then for Troy and friends a series of mistakes and failures begins, and a lot of blood will be shed.

Bunker, who himself served prison time not one time, but plenty, knows what writes about, so those moments when the author describes prison life, are the most reliable and sometimes even touching. Troy itself is partly Bunker: they have in common a love of books, childhood, spent in the reform school, living in criminal circles, sharp mind. Troy, the son of a drunken doctor, began his path to lawlessness with his father, whom he nearly killed in an attempt to protect his mother. Troy is tired of prison and wants the freedom and all that it can offer. Troy would rather die from a bullet of another criminal, than the next - and last - time would be placed behind bars. The point is that each of the three friends already have two convictions, and the third, no matter how small it is, will give an offender life prison term. Therefore, the three friends must try to do everything, just not to fall into the hands of police.

The plot is a chain of "cases" that Troy and associates should work to raise such a sum, which would have sufficed almost till the end of life. And even though Troy seems to have a reliable team, everyone should keep an eye on everyone, especially on Mad Dog, who a few weeks before Troy’s release ruthlessly killed his girlfriend and her daughter. The action, however, slacks a little, and does not fly, because friends have rest between the cases.

And if the story mostly delivers the goods, Bunker’s style in some places are clumsy. In the action scenes there are not enough of a strain. Sentences are written properly, but there is no lubrication between them, and entire paragraphs crackle and creak. Yes, and dialogues in the second half of the novel are written with laziness, they do not have enough sharpness.

Bloody and desperate finale, in which you feels like in a cage which sucked all the air from, fairly concludes this novel about the brave people who chose the path of lawlessness.

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