Citizen Vince: A Novel

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Apr 12, 2005 - Fiction - 293 pages

One day you know more dead people that live ones...

Jess Walter is a writer with a rare talent for finding humanity and emotional truths in lives lived on both sides of the law. With his third novel, Citizen Vince, Walter has crafted a story as inventive as it is suspenseful -- an irresistible tale about the price of freedom and the mystery of salvation.

It's the fall of 1980, eight days before a presidential election that pits the downtrodden Jimmy Carter against the suspiciously sunny Ronald Reagan ("Are you better off than you were four years ago?"). In a quiet house in Spokane, Washington, Vince Camden wakes up at 1:59 a.m., pockets his weekly stash of stolen credit cards, and drops in on an all-night poker game with his low-life friends on his way to his witness-protection job dusting crullers at Donut Make You Hungry. This is the sum of Vince's new life: donuts, forged credit cards, marijuana smuggled in jars of volcanic ash, and a neurotic hooker girlfriend who dreams of being a real estate agent.

But when a familiar face shows up in town, Vince realizes that no matter how far you think you've run from your past . . . it's always close behind you. Over the course of the next unforgettable week, on the run from Spokane to New York's Lower East Side, Vince Camden will negotiate a maze of obsessive cops, eager politicians, and emerging mobsters, only to find that redemption might just exist in -- of all places -- a voting booth.

Darkly funny and surprisingly hopeful, Citizen Vince is the story of a charming crook chasing the biggest score of his life: a second chance.

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About the author (2005)

Jess Walter was born on July 20, 1965. He graduated from Eastern Washington University. Before becoming an author, he worked as a journalist. His work has appeared in Newsweek, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. He has written one nonfiction book and several novels. His works include Every Knee Shall Bow, Over Tumbled Graves, The Zero, and Beautiful Ruins. His novel, Citizen Vince, won the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel. He was the co-author of Christopher Darden's 1996 bestseller In Contempt.