By Denis Johnson
Now Denis Johnson is a very fine writer – Tree of Smoke and the stories in Jesus’ Son are proof of that – but Nobody Move, a crime novel that was apparently first serialised in Playboy magazine, isn’t among his best works.
It is entertaining enough, has an Elmore Leonard flavour throughout, but betrays its origins too much. The main character is Jimmy, a gambler heavily in debt. Gangsters are coming after him, wanting their money. There is also Anita, an alcoholic who may have two and a half million dollars stashed away somewhere. They meet. Stuff happens. That’s pretty much it.
Some of it has an edge – to be absolutely just – but I think even Johnson himself lost interest in it, characters and story, the whole shebang, way before the close. The novel sputters to an end.