The Driver

As creator, writer and executive producer of the hit television series Bones, Hart Hanson knows his way around a cold open. With his marvelously well-rounded debut novel, The Driver, Hanson proves his talent translates beautifully from a visual medium to the narrative form. In 10 pages, the first chapter delivers an entertainment smack upside the head that will keep readers rapt to the story's end.

The opening introduces multifaceted protagonist Michael Skellig (highly educated and decorated military veteran, owner of Oasis Limo Services, Hippocratic categorizer of his fellow humans, and the titular driver) and his dedicated and singular tribe of employees (fellow veterans with their own background goldmines). Without skipping a beat, Skellig shares a bit about his mother, his romantic entanglements and his penchant for humorous parenthetical asides. Then, the disembodied voice of a Chechen jihadist torturer he killed a decade earlier warns Skellig his client--wunderkind skateboarding hip-hop mogul Bismarck Avila--is in trouble at the hotel bar. One short gunfight later, Skellig is unconscious.

What follows is a rip-roaring good time, an action-packed yet sentimental story that never sacrifices one element for the sake of another. Wryly funny and whip-smart, Hanson's narrative seamlessly weaves in serious themes, pop culture and a bit of a love letter to Los Angeles. As Skellig and his crew get sucked into Avila's problems, the risks rise and the cost is high. Hanson excels at creating characters to invest in wholeheartedly and this group is worth your 401(k). --Lauren O'Brien of Malcolm Avenue Review

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