Don't ask me what intrigued me about this book when I first saw it, because I can't tell you. Maybe the Edgar award notification on the cover helped (I had not read anything with this award to my memory). Awards aside, Citizen Vince is utterly worth the read (even if you have to read some passages with your fingers over you eyes, like peeking at a horror movie)!
The story involves the main character, Vince, a reformed mafia guy relocated and given a new identity via the Witness Protection Program. The characters inhabiting Vince's new-found world including: prostitutes, card sharks, a pot-head teeanage baker, and his new criminal buddies are well-formed and interesting. And the situations Vince finds himself in are unexpected. What makes the story worthwhile though is the thought-provoking meditations on choice. What will Men do when faced with something they never thought they would? What is worth dying for and what is worth killing for? Also, if you got the chance to forever change your life in one moment, would you do it, or would you choose what you already know?
I loved the background to this novel, set in the week leading up to the election of 1980 - Carter vs. Reagan. Since I am a lover all things 80's, I found the historical background matched very nicely what the characters were going through - the end of an era, the hope for the future despite the struggles of the present.
This book is definitely worth the time. It is original and often funny, filled with great characters. I look forward to checking out the other books by Jess Walter.
Rating: 6 out of 7