Lou drives 70-hour weeks for a ramshackle taxi company that operates on the outskirts of a north Mississippi college town among the trailer parks and housing projects. With Uber moving into town and his way of life fast vanishing, his girlfriend moving out on him, Lou must keep driving his way through a bedlam shift even when that means aiding and abetting the host of criminal misfits haunting the back seat of his Town Car.
... disarmingly honest and darkly comic ... Durkee’s aims ultimately lie in probing, not deep existential pain, but a byproduct formed by occlusion and diversion, that sudden flash of extreme, virulent fury otherwise known as road rage ... In his beguiling, energetic, razor-sharp prose, Durkee pinpoints the justified resentment and righteous indignation that fuels such behavior ... We all have a lot of anger these days, and for good reason. The question is what to do with that anger. Durkee, like any good novelist, doesn’t provide too many answers.
In The Last Taxi Driver, one would not, at first glance, assume an Elizabethan dramatic structure ... However, much of what makes Lee Durkee’s novel so delightful and surprising is his ability to dig beneath the surface of this funny, well-told odyssey, which channels a Shakespearean tragedy ... The Last Taxi Driver is more of a transcendental journey than a story-driven novel. There isn’t an absolute plotline, rather, most of the book details Lou’s experiences, observations, his past life, and how he’s arrived at this day that triggers a subtle transformation. As we cut into the marrow of his character, in an oddly effective move, we get closest to Lou by losing trust in him as he becomes unhinged. By removing his defenses, his humor and candor, we see who Lou really is, and what drives him. The result is Durkee’s cathartic achievement ... Durkee’s prose hits the right pitch. Told from Lou’s perspective, it’s a casual, voice-driven read with smart intimate humor.
... it’s hard not to call The Last Taxi Driver a must-read — simply because it’s one of the best novels in recent memory ... All of this sounds bleak, but the book is laugh-out-loud funny ... The story moves at a frenetic pace, and the introduction of a gun toward the third act creates a sense of urgency. But at heart, the novel is driven by Lou’s wildly compelling voice ... a comic masterpiece. But Durkee is after something bigger than laughs ... a wild and hilarious ride filled with dirty jokes. But it’s also a story about a truth we often forget: It’s hard to be a good person. We tend to think of being good as a state of being rather than as a series of strenuous actions and difficult choices. Behind the dark comedy, The Last Taxi Driver is a dead-serious reminder that virtue is a lifelong struggle. Which is why it’s such a wonderful book, one of the best to come along.