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I read this book in the mid '90s, but it's likely older, from a couple of decades before that. It was in English, likely American English since as far as I can tell, the story is set in the USA.

What I remember is a scene in which the protagonist takes part in illegal street races. Stacks of books are tied to the bumper of two cars. Drivers then race down a street, trying to knock off the books from their bumpers by hitting the parked cars, of course without crashing their own cars. The protagonist is quite good at it, knocking all books off without even a scratch on his own car.

This goes awry in a horrible way when a couple is making out in one of the parked cars.

The man opens the door of their car, to get out and complain. One of the cars hits the door, knocking it closed and decapitating the man whose body falls back into the car while his head lands on the roof of the car.

This marks the end of the street races.

Because of his driving skills, the protagonist is hired by a local gangster to drive him around town in traffic as fast as possible, to intimidate the gangster's associates / victims in the backseat.

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  • 1
    While searching, I found this quite different take on street races. Not the story you're looking for, but interesting.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Feb 18, 2023 at 18:33
  • @Randal'Thor wow, that's a good one.
    – SQB
    Feb 19, 2023 at 8:08
  • Simply pasting the question into Chat GPT suggests "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton, which was published in 1967
    – fundagain
    Mar 6, 2023 at 10:00
  • 1
    @fundagain The Outsiders doesn't match at all and all I can find about The Angry Breed identifies it as a film, not a novel.
    – SQB
    Mar 6, 2023 at 10:59
  • 1
    @fundagain Yeah, but Angry Breed is a 1968 film, not a title in the Nick Carter series. This is exactly the problem with ChatGPT: it just produces likely combination of words, not necessarily true ones.
    – SQB
    Mar 6, 2023 at 13:07

1 Answer 1

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+50

Steps by Jerzy Kosinski has similar "book-knock-off" scene.

It starts on page 123 on the archive.org record and ends with the spoiler:

There was a couple in one of the parked cars along the course. The roar of the passing cars and the angry revving of the engines must have disturbed them. Suddenly one threw open the car door and got out, standing there amazed, shielded momentarily by the door. In that instant a competing car rammed into the door, slamming it closed. The body disappeared. Only the head remained outside, as if balanced on the knife- edge of the door; then it rolled down and hit the asphalt like one more book that had been struck off.


I found it with Google books search for "books" bumper parked car subject:fiction limited to 20th century.

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  • Yes, that is indeed the book. Thank you.
    – SQB
    Mar 7, 2023 at 10:15

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