The Walkaway is both a prequel and a sequel to The Ice Harvest (my review), which I just finished a couple days ago and very much enjoyed. Yay! Both books were on sale in one way or another so it was like a nice Christmas gift. The Ice Harvest (book 1) was an Audible Daily Deal and then I the next day I found the Kindle version of The Walkaway and it was marked way down, too. I got both the Audio and the Kindle versions of the Walkaway.
By Scott Phillips
2000 / 9h 3m
Read by George Newbern
Rating: A /crime
(Prequel/Sequel to The Ice Harvest)
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!! Read The Ice Harvest first. The Walkaway is difficult enough without the added and unavoidable complexity of not knowing how The Ice Harvest developed and ended.
But the two books are very different. The Ice Harvest is a masterpiece of black humor/nor crime. It takes place in Wichita, Kansas on Christmas Eve, 1979. The characters are almost all involved in the seedy bar scene including the drunks and the hookers and cops and scheming and so on. A severe storm prevents Charlie Arglist from leaving town as he really wants to do very badly. Why? Well …that’s the problem. We don’t know. He’s barhopping to kill time saying good-bye.
The Walkaway also takes place in Wichita and with a lot of the same characters (Phillips is known for that), but the time frames are 1954, 1979 and 1989. Yes. So it’s both a prologue and a sequel to The Ice Harvest.
It’s not the linear tale The Ice Harvest is. The structure and cohesion are complex. It feel like Phillips really tries to get the noir ambiance of The Ice Harvest going, but although it’s certainly gritty enough it never quite happens as it was in that book. What happens instead is kind of like a tragi-comedy of errors involving an elderly gent with some dementia who has run away from his nursing home in order to take care of some old business. Until the end he was a minor player in The Ice Harvest.
These are great novels – highly recommended.