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Quick Change by Jay Cronley

Quick Change

by Jay Cronley

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Quick Change follows the misadventures of career criminal Grimm, his bombshell girlfriend Phyllis, and loose cannon cohort Lackey, as their getaway to the airport from a nearly flawless bank job is repeatedly delayed and complicated by one misfortune after another.

A bit more nihilistic and hard-edged than the 1990 Bill Murray adaptation of the same name, Quick Change is an 80s crime farce in the tradition of authors like Carl Hiaasen, although quite possibly lesser known than it's American film adaptation. It's a straight forward "What else could go wrong?" comic vehicle, as unforeseen errors in judgement and cruel twists of fate keep getting in the way of Grimm's gang and the airport while enraged police chief Rotzinger slowly gains on their trail. Much of the incidents they become involved in along the way mirror absurd societal norms and inner-city frustrations that can make life difficult on even a normal day, which goes a long way towards humanizing the predicaments of the lead characters.

Part of the humor in the novel comes from the narrator's asides into the thoughts and histories of major and minor characters alike, which may be a bit distracting to some readers when time dilates during active scenes in order to diverge into brief insights of a minor character's motivation, but they are generally performed to solid effect. The witty banter the makes up most of the novel's dialogue, however, feels a bit stiff and clunky in some spots, and does less to demonstrate the personalities of characters than the meandering narrator. Sometimes the dialogue isn't as clever as the characters (or author) think it is, but you're guaranteed to laugh when it does hit the mark.

Despite these minor setbacks, it's an overall fun read, especially if you've never seen the 1990 film Quick Change. The 1985 French adaptation Hold-Up bears little resemblance to the source material beyond the clown costume bank robbery, so having seen that beforehand should be less of a hindrance. ( )
  smichaelwilson | Aug 17, 2015 |
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I would like to use this Dedication Page to express my admiration for John D. MacDonald, Ed McBain, Donald E. Westlake and other writers who have written an ungodly number of terrific novels. That these men are prolific and talented is obviously noteworthy. That they have come up with enough people to dedicate all their books to is the most astounding damn thing I have ever seen.
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Grimm didn't feel like a clown, but he handed the kid a balloon, anyway.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385151802, Hardcover)

“Grimm was the only one in town who knew he had them where he wanted them—overconfident.” The hero of Quick Change is just twenty minutes into a bank robbery, and so far everything is going according to his brilliant, meticulously thought-out plan. The bank’s employees and customers are in the vault, the security cameras have all been shot out, and he’s bagged close to a million dollars. But the police and a SWAT team are already outside. Can Grimm get out of the bank and out of New York, with the money and his two accomplices, and pull off this daring escapade?

And why is he dressed like a clown?

Jay Cronley delivers the answers in a rapid-fire narrative—with much more suspense and Cronley’s signature deadpan humor than made it into the French or American film versions (the latter starring Bill Murray and Geena Davis). In an introduction written for this new paperback edition, the author tells how the book came to be, what it’s like to go Hollywood, and where the book has taken him since it was first published in 1981.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:20 -0400)

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