STARRED REVIEW
March 2019

A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself

William Boyle

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The title: A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself. The author: William Boyle: The place: Brooklyn. The cast of characters includes Wolfie, an erstwhile porn star and quite the pneumatic bad girl in her day; Lucia, a precocious teenage girl with a larcenous hit-man boyfriend; Rena, the 60-ish widow of an infamous mob boss; and perhaps best of all, a lovingly cared-for 1962 Chevy Impala, an ideal chariot for making one’s getaway from the scene of the crime. Especially when the crime is clocking (with a heavy glass ashtray) a geriatric neighbor making unwanted advances, and then leaving him for dead on his living room floor. The perpetrator, Rena, is in full-on panic mode, and the ’62 Impala is her ticket out. But this is only the initial crime, with a bag full of purloined mob money and a coalition of women inadvertently on the run with their ill-gotten gains. This all sounds a little bit loopy, along the lines of Carl Hiaasen or Tim Dorsey, and there is indeed a surreal element to this caper. But there is also more than a little Thelma & Louise in Boyle’s terrific tale, which has some of the most stylish noir prose to grace the page in some time.

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