I finished reading Drive by James Sallis last week, and I have some mixed feelings about it. I think it’s an okay read with some fundamental issues.

I enjoyed the shorter length of the novel. I think it works well for the story being told, and the writing flows nicely. The atmosphere seems to be spot on in the way that the grittier parts of L.A. are described.

I disliked that there were essentially zero consequential female characters. I think the film does a better job than the novel of developing the character of Irina/Irene. I found the plot difficult to follow, with each chapter jumping back and forth in the timeline. There were shifts in tense throughout the book, which felt awkward. Maybe it was intentional, but I found it confusing.

I read the book pretty slowly over the course of a few weeks. I think this made the book more difficult to follow. Because of the shorter length—only 192 pages—I think Drive would have been better suited for reading over a few sittings back-to-back.

The film adaptation of Drive is one of my favorite movies from this decade, so I was excited to read the source material. All-in-all, it’s an okay read but not one that I am enthralled with. I get the feeling that I just didn’t get it, so it may be a novel worth revisiting in a few years.