Stella's protagonists are men on the fringe of mob life, but they really are good guys. They're generally not killers, they're not especially vicious, and they have a touchingly old-fashioned yearning to do the right thing.
This is especially true of Reese Waters in Cheapskates, a convict who served time for stealing a car and who deeply wants to see that his cellmate is done right by. There's something to be said about a story with a good, old-fashioned good guy even if the good guy is a bad guy.
(Cheapskates is the fourth of Stella's novels, and Reese's mix of goodness and naivete reminds me of the title character in Charlie Opera, Stella's third book. So maybe the good-guy bad guy thing is characteristic of mid-period Stella.
(OK, enough with the theories. Back to the books.)
More to come, perhaps, on dialogue, humor, and violence, and how they can co-exist happily.
“`There’s a brother with us upstate now was driving a bus,’ Mufasa said. `Killed his old lady when he found her cheating.’
“`Some handle it the wrong way, that kind of thing.’
"Mufasa sipped his coffee. `He used to tell us how people sometimes spit at him when he was driving.`”
“`Sometimes they do. That’s when the job becomes a test. Cops can find a reason to smack a guy spits at them. Bus drivers don’t have the same option.’”
I have never seen anyone spit at a bus driver, but I have seen drivers given the kind of crap no one should have to put up with. Next time I chat with one of these drivers, I'm recommending Charlie Stella.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011
Labels: Charlie Stella