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Madison Smartt Bell: Save Me, Joe Louis

Charlie and Macrae meet in Battery Park, New York, each trying to bum some money off the other but both are broke. Macrae is AWOL from the army, Charlie a habitual criminal. They decide to team up and go on a robbing spree. Their favorite tactic is to force people to take money from the ATM and then they take that money. When they team up with Porter, an African American newly released from prison, they decide to rob an armoured truck but when that doesn’t work out, they are on the run. They go to Tennessee where they stay at Macrae’s father’s farm and Macrae reconnects with his ex-girlfriend/cousin, Lacy, now a photographer but they are off again when another robbery goes wrong but not before a dose of rural living and Lacy has given Macrae (but not Charlie) something of a conscience. It is a bit obvious – the hardened criminal who sees life as hit or be hit pays the price while the man with the conscience survives – but Bell tells his fast-moving if somewhat cynical tale well.

Publishing history

First published 1993 by Harcourt Brace