It’s difficult to describe Duane Swierczynski’s THE WHEELMAN without giving too much away–and saying as much, I’ve probably given too much away..

McKenna at MURDER BY THE BOOK recommended THE WHEELMAN, and for whatever reason, I allowed it to sit on my shelf for a decade before cracking it open. I ought to have had more faith. I’ve been going to MBTB since before I could drive, and they’ve turned me on to the likes of DENNIS LEHANE, ANDREW VACHSS, and fabulous JOE R. LANSDALE over the years.


Swierczynski drops us into a high-speed chase, as three Irish criminals tear away from a heist. At the wheel, as you might expect, is Lennon, the eponymous wheelman. A truck smashes into them. Lennon awakens to find a couple of guys trying to dispose of his body. And we quickly learn that Lennon is not a fellow you want to double-cross without double-checking he’s dead…

THE WHEELMAN is a muscular, fast-paced yarn filled with larger-than-life-characters, hairpin plot-twists, and orgiastic violence. Imagine Richard Stark and Martin McDonagh banged out a pulp over the course of a drug and gin-fueled Spring Break. The result would likely run along the lines of THE WHEELMAN–albeit more restrained.

After buzzing through THE WHEELMAN, do yourself a favor and check out THE BLONDE.