Book Review: Down on the Street by Alec Cizak

DOWN ON THE STREET

Author: Alec Cizak

Publisher: ABC Group Documentation

Release Date: June 2017

Times are tough in modern-day Indianapolis, and sad-sack cab driver Lester Banks is struggling to make ends meet: paying his rent and maintaining his hooker habit is becoming increasingly difficult… Enter Chelsea, his sexy young, nymphomaniac neighbour – a woman whose life is also about to hit rock bottom. Captivated by his new acquaintance, and spurred on by advice from a colleague with a chequered past, Lester proposes a sordid business arrangement to Chelsea: why not have sex and earn money at the same time? With him as her unlikely pimp! Unfortunately for our desperate duo, their new side-line quickly attracts the attention of a posse of crooked cops, a wealthy degenerate, and a rival pimp, and Lester comes to realise that pimpin’ ain’t easy…

Anyone who has read Crooked Roads, Cizak’s masterful short story collection, will be well aware of his knack for dark, emotive stories – in which hapless protagonists are drawn hopelessly out of their depth in their pursuit of a slightly better life. Down on the Street treads a similar path, and the author offers up an eye-opening series of set-pieces as the book unfolds. The subject matter is understandably dark – but undercut with a bone-dry sense of humour – and the lead characters, and indeed supporting players, are all convincingly depicted.

Unlike reluctant anti-hero Lester, Down on the Street is neither cheap nor exploitative. This is riveting stuff, and well worth checking out.

Reviewed by Tom Leins

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