Dirty White Boys Imagine Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men with George and Lennie as escaped cons and serial killers rampaging across present-day Oklahoma, and you've about half got… Dirty White Boys Imagine Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men with George and Lennie as escaped cons and serial killers rampaging across present-day Oklahoma, and you've about half got… Fiction True Crime
Book Review

Dirty White Boys

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Writer: Stephen Hunter; Genres: Fiction, True Crime

Imagine Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men with George and Lennie as escaped cons and serial killers rampaging across present-day Oklahoma, and you've about half got it. Throw in an aging but virile state trooper in the Clint Eastwood mold, and you've completed the picture. Not to say that readers of Stephen Hunter's cynical, stylized shoot-'em-up thriller, Dirty White Boys won't need pointed reminders to fasten their seat belts and return their tray tables to their upright and locked position. They certainly will. From the graphic opening scene in which redneck bad-boy Lamar Pye beats a 400-pound black would-be rapist to death in the shower at McAlester State penitentiary — thus forcing him and his imbecile cousin Odell to flee or be murdered — the action never quits. Even Hunter's pedantic Guns & Ammo lore about the stopping power of handgun loads and occasional Maileresque odes to brutality and unreason do little to slow the pace. ''What is Yeats' line? 'The worst are full of passionate intensity'? That's it. That's Lamar. A sly genius at disorder, a prince of chaos.'' Unoriginal, but intense. A-

Originally posted Dec 23, 1994 Published in issue #254 Dec 23, 1994 Order article reprints