Women are disappearing on the highway, a drifter hunts the men who raped her, and a journalist discovers law has broken down and been replaced with something far more savage.
On a remote highway in Arizona women are disappearing at truck stops. Journalist Johnny Sullivan travels to the area to investigate. He encounters hitchhiker Patty, who is being hunted by violent trucker Red. Patty tells Johnny of the local myth of the maniac trucker. Johnny also meets Valentino de La Cruz, a mysterious Mexican who is looking for his missing sister.
Valentino is having an affair with Natasha, the wife of recently murdered businessman, Theodore Mills, whose wealth funds the corrupt police force in the area. The local Highway Patrol is run by sexually sadistic Sam Roche and Franklin Norman and they want to put an end to Johnny’s snooping. Marshall Simmons knows a lot about the goings on in the area, and has a young woman captive in a house. He is reprogramming her identity. Meanwhile Johnny discovers that years previously serial killer Donald Lake disappeared in the area while in transit between prisons. And it seems he had police help. But what is being done to the women? And who is running the criminal organisation that controls the area? Savage Highways is about lawlessness and the hunt for justice in a no man’s land. Pedal to the floor all the way, the narrative speeds towards its stunning and unforeseeable conclusion.
From the book:
… A black Chevrolet drove past her and pulled into the truck stop. A tall lean man in a red coat got out and walked over to the women. He stood there with his hands in his pockets, said something to a small dark prostitute in a black skirt, nodded, and then entered the diner. He waved at the waitress.
‘Evenin’ Theodore,’ she said. ‘We have some fresh pizza.’
‘Sounds good, I’ll just use your restroom.’
The waitress continued chatting to Pete. She didn’t pay any attention to the prostitute in the black skirt who wandered in, the waitress merely glanced at her, then touched up her lipstick using a makeup mirror that she pulled from her purse. The woman went to join Theodore in the cubicle Patty had recently vacated. She was in her early twenties but had the used look of a life that held no pleasure except the diminishing high she got each night as she shot up.
Theodore didn’t look at her but waited as she pulled up her skirt, slipped down her G-string, and fumbled with his fly. He lifted her halter top. His small black eyes gazed at her breasts. She leaned against the door and Theodore entered her. She didn’t look at his face as he penetrated her. Theodore began to sweat as he increased his rhythm, and the smell of grease broke from his pores. When he stopped he ran his hand through his thick black hair and stared up at the ceiling, then pulled out and zipped up. He counted out the cash and waited until she left.
He was washing his hands at the cracked sink thinking about the meat loaf the diner served when the door opened. Then someone reached over his shoulder and ran a straight razor across his neck. Theodore never got to see his killer. He was holding his hands to the wound as the door closed. He staggered across the room and collapsed by the urinals. As he lay there drowning in his own blood, it looked like his red coat was melting into the urine.
Acclaim for Richard Godwin and SAVAGE HIGHWAY…
“The road novel from hell, a scarifying, terrifying tour of a nether world that Godwin convinces us is right beneath our feet, a surrealist inferno that makes Dante’s version look like a Rotary breakfast. By no means for the fainthearted, SAVAGE HIGHWAY has one lesson for any readers who plan a visit to the American Southwest: take the train.“–Castle Freeman Jr., author of THE DEVIL IN THE VALLEY
“I find Richard Godwin to be an exceptional writer with an extraordinarily fine mind. He conducted over two weeks the single best interview I’ve ever been involved with. His novels are always good with crackling dialogue. His latest, Wrong Crowd, is dazzling. Read him.“–Luke Rhinehart, author of bestselling The Dice Man (The novel that inspired Sir Richard Branson to found the Virgin Empire.)
“Richard Godwin’s Savage Highway is one of those irresistible hard-boiled reads that’s reminiscent of old school black and white noir. From the very start you know this is going to be one hell of a car wreck, yet you can’t resist going along for the ride and loving every minute of it. A riveting story, this is classic Godwin.”
—Vincent Zandri, New York Times andUSA Today Bestselling Author of Orchard Grove and When Shadows Come
978-1-942266-33-4 ISBN trade paperback
978-1-942266-34-1 ISBN ebook