A Book Spy Review: ‘The Driver’ by Hart Hanson

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Michael Skellig was once a lethal special forces operator stationed in Afghanistan, now he’s a limo driver in Los Angeles. His client is Bismarck Avila, an African-American skateboarder turned part-time rapper, who is also a reality TV star. 

One night, while driving Avila and his big-bodied bodyguards around, Skellig finds himself waiting in a back alley behind a fancy hotel–something that hasn’t been uncommon in the twenty-four plus hours that he’s been escorting Avila around. The night takes an interesting turn, though, when Skellig swears that he hears the voice of a Chechen torturer he killed in Yemen more than a decade ago, warning him that something bad is about to happen. 

Skellig leaves his post and heads inside to check on his client, a move that ends up saving Avila’s life. Later, Skellig wakes up in the hospital to learn that Avila’s bodyguards were killed and that he’s a suspect in the homicide. The lead detective on the case, Delilah Groopman, is a good-looking woman who adds a shade of beauty to Hanson’s gritty plot. She likes Skellig for the shooting but needs Avila to corroborate her theory. 

Avila, meanwhile, promises Skellig that he’ll vouch for him with the LAPD, but under one condition. Afraid for his life, he brokers a deal to have Skellig promoted from driver to full-time bodyguard, and tasks the former soldier with finding out who tried to kill him–a job that is much easier said than done. 

Hanson is a superb storyteller, and his diverse cast of characters really come to life over the course of the story. The setup is, in some ways, similar to the MTV reality show Rob & Big, starring Rob Dyrdek who, like Avila in this book, is a famous skateboarder who dabbles in music and television and has a former soldier protecting him at all times. Toss in the well-timed humor in Hanson’s book, and that’s where the similarities end–as The Driver delves much deeper into a darker world of conflict and struggle, touching on everything from the criminal underworld to wounded veterans. 

Hanson, the creator of the hit TV show Bones, has a knack for creating mesmerizing and seductive dialogue. That, combined with a colorful cast of characters and topped with subtle humor woven into a gritty plot, make The Driver a fun and thrilling read. 

Book Details

Author: Hart Hanson
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1101986360
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10
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