The Weekender by Jeffrey Deaver from Best American Noir of the Century – review

best american noir of the centuryreviewed by Frank Bill

“The Weekender” by Jeffery Deaver, opens with an unnamed protagonist and his partner, Toth, barreling down after knocking off Ardmore Drugs, a large drugstore in the small town of Liggett Falls. But things didn’t go as planned.

Toth was supposed to be doing crowd control, keeping an eye on the customers and clerks, knocks over a rack of chips wanting Doritos. The protagonist was counting out the dough from the register a mouthy kid/clerk opened. The protagonist looks at Toth. The cashier throws a glass bottle out the drive-through window. Toth shoots the kid. Everyone scatters. Toth shoots a customer. Toth and the protagonist are out the door. Only there’s a cop. So they grab a customer. A hostage. Cop pulls his gun. Toth shoots the cop.

Knowing it’s only a matter of time before the cops catch up to them and a roadblock on the horizon with a hostage bound on the back floorboard the two men go to the small tourist town of Winchester find an abandoned house. Park the car around back. Inside, with the hostage, Toth and the protagonist take the hostage’s wallet. The hostage’s name is Randall C. Weller, a vice president of a computer company.

In the end, “The Weekender” is a psychological story where the good makes the bad believe he can become good without having to own up to all of his wrongs. Using moral metaphors like faith and trust. It constantly builds an underlying tension between Jack and Weller, a good read for anyone who enjoys the narratives of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Hey, there’s a reason Mr. Deaver has won so many awards.


Frank Bill is a Southern Indiana author represented by The Donald Maass Literary Agency. His debut novel, Donnybrook, will be published in 2011.

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