“Driven” by James Sallis (2012)


A year after the film adaptation of his book Drive, James Sallis returns to his character of Driver to tell the story of what leads to him “going down at 3 am on a cool morning in Tijuana”.  Seven years after leaving L.A., Driver has assumed a new identity, established a business, and gotten engaged.  All that is taken when two thugs kill his fiancee, setting off another violent chain of events that puts Driver back to doing what he does best. After finishing Drive, I was looking forward to reading more of this series and about this character.  After reading Driven, I wish Sallis had decided to leave well enough alone.  The cynic in me imagines that after the film version of Drive, Sallis pulled a Kenny Powers and exclaimed “Get me paid, bitch!”, sat down for a couple hours, and wrote this derivative sequel.

It’s not that the writing is bad, it’s that the story is lazy and follows the following formula:  two goons try to kill Driver, Driver kills them.  Then Driver talks to some one and Sallis describes random things like a cat climbing a tree.  Then two goons try to kill Driver, Driver kills them.  It seems like after the fifth or sixth time, they would have eventually learned to step their game up.  And as always, all the villains are sympathetic.  It’s just business.

Driven also tries to make a big mystery out of why all these people are after Driver, which is silly, because it’s fairly obvious the mafia is on his tail after the death of Bernie Rose and Nino.  At 147 pages, Driven is short enough to not over stay its welcome and as a fan of this character I did enjoy certain parts of this story; but overall this was a huge disappointment.


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