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The drift
John Ridley
Adult Fiction RIDLEY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Ridley (Stray Dogs) leads readers into the lurid, violent world of modern-day hobos and rail riders in this taut, riveting murder mystery. Charles Hanson left his middle-class L.A. life to become Brain Nigger Charlie, a free-spirited hobo who knows every trick in the book when it comes to surviving in the brutal world of rail riding. But even Charlie is challenged when his friend's niece Corina drops out of high school to ride the rails, only to find herself caught in a world of drug smuggling, gangs and violent thugs. Charlie's quest to find her starts with an encounter with Kessler, a neo-Nazi gang lord who has enslaved Corina as a drug mule. She manages to escape, and as Charlie races Kessler to find her, he picks up more information on her whereabouts from a sympathetic cop named Haxton Boole, who intervenes on Charlie's behalf when he is picked up and tortured by an FBI agent after a battle with Kessler's men. Charlie soon learns that the girl has hooked up with a Hispanic serial killer. After a brief trip to L.A. to revisit his old life (in the course of which he discovers that his wife has taken off), he heads to the Pacific Northwest for a deadly showdown. Ridley's terse, electric prose captures the subculture of modern-day rail riders, and the suspense level remains high throughout. (Sept.) Forecast: This could be a breakout book-supported by national advertising and a five-city author tour-for Ridley, a regular commentator on NPR, who has also written and/or produced such successful films as Undercover Brother and Three Kings. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Charles Harmon was living the American dream great job, wonderful wife, nice house in the suburbs until his psychosis ruined everything. Now he has been transformed into Brain Nigger Charlie, a tramp riding the rails and digging through trash to find his next meal. When a fellow tramp asks Charlie to help him locate his teenaged niece, who has herself begun riding the rails, Charlie decides to honor his friend's plea. His efforts quickly draw attention not only from the law but also from less savory characters, including a white supremacist organization using the trains to run drugs. At the same time, there's a serial murderer traveling the rails, endangering Charlie even further. Ridley's writing resonates with truth and humor, and to his credit he doesn't romanticize the life of the tramp, depicting instead its ugly reality. Charlie's illness and quick descent into his current state are also handled with blunt honesty. Another excellent effort from the talented author of Stray Dogs and Love Is a Racket, this belongs in public libraries. Craig Shufelt, Lane P.L., Fairfield, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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