The Man Who Came Uptown
Michael Hudson spends the long days in prison devouring books given to him by the prison's librarian, a young woman named Anna who develops a soft spot for her best student. Anna keeps passing Michael books until one day he disappears, suddenly released after a private detective manipulated a witness in Michael's trial.
Outside, Michael encounters a Washington, D.C. that has changed a lot during his time locked up. Once shady storefronts are now trendy beer gardens and flower shops. But what hasn't changed is the hard choice between the temptation of crime and doing what's right. Trying to balance his new job, his love of reading, and the debt he owes to the man who got him released, Michael struggles to figure out his place in this new world before he loses control.
Smart and fast-paced, The Man Who Came Uptown brings Washington, D.C. to life in a high-stakes story of tough choices.
The Martini Shot
Whether they're cops or conmen, savage killers or creative types, gangsters or God-fearing citizens, George Pelecanos' characters are always engaged in a fight for their lives. They fight to advance or simply to survive; they fight against odds, against enemies, even against themselves. In this, his first collection of stories, the acclaimed novelist introduces readers to a vivid and eclectic cast of combatants.
A seasoned claims investigator tracks a supposedly dead man from Miami to Brazil, only to be thrown off his game by a kid from the local slum. An aging loser takes a last stab at respectability by becoming a police informant. A Greek-American couple adopts an interracial trio of sons and then struggles to keep their family together, giving us a stirring bit of background on one of Pelecanos' most beloved protagonists, Spero Lucas. In the title novella - which takes its name from Hollywood slang for the last shot of the day, the one that comes before the liquor shots begin - we go behind the scenes of a television cop show, where a writer gets caught up in a drama more real than anything he could have conjured for a script.
By turns heartbreaking and humane, brutal and funny, these finely constructed tales expose the violence and striving beneath the surface of any city and within any human heart. Tough, sexy, fast-paced, and crackling with energy, The Martini Shot is Pelecanos at his very best.
The job seems simple enough: retrieve the valuable painting -- "The Double" -- Grace Kinkaid's ex-boyfriend stole from her. It's the sort of thing Spero Lucas specializes in: finding what's missing, and doing it quietly. But Grace wants more. She wants Lucas to find the man who humiliated her -- a violent career criminal with a small gang of brutal thugs at his beck and call.
Lucas is a man who knows how to get what he wants, whether it's a thief on the run -- or a married woman. In the midst of a steamy, passionate love affair that he knows can't last, in pursuit of a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, Lucas is forced to decide what kind of man he is -- and how far he'll go to get what he wants.
What It Was
Rich with details of place and time - the cars, the music, the clothes - and fueled by non-stop action, this is Pelecanos writing in the hard-boiled noir style that won him his earliest fans and placed him firmly in the ranks of the top crime writers in America.
Spero Lucas has a new line of work. Since he returned home to Washington, D.C. after serving in Iraq, he has been doing special investigations for a defense attorney. He's good at it, and he has carved out a niche: recovering stolen property, no questions asked. His cut is forty percent.
A high-profile crime boss who has heard of Lucas's specialty hires him to find out who has been stealing from his operation. It's the biggest job Spero has ever been offered, and he quickly gets a sense of what's going on. But before he can close in on what's been taken, he tangles with a world of men whose amorality and violence leave him reeling. Is any cut worth your family, your lover, your life?
The first in a series of thrillers featuring Spero Lucas, The Cut is the latest confirmation of why George Pelecanos is "perhaps America's greatest living crime writer."-Stephen King
The Way Home
One day on the job, Chris and his partner come across a temptation almost too big to resist. Chris does the right thing, but old habits and instincts rise to the surface, threatening this new-found stability with sudden treachery and violence. With his father and his most trusted friends, he takes one last chance to blast past the demons trying to pull him back.
Like Richard Price or William Kennedy, Pelecanos pushes his characters to the extremes, their redemption that much sweeter because it is so hard fought. Pelecanos has long been celebrated for his unerring ability to portray the conflicts men feel as they search and struggle for power and love in a world that is often harsh and unforgiving but can ultimately be filled with beauty.
The Turnaround takes us on a journey from the rock-and-soul streets of the '70s to the changing neighborhoods of D.C. today, from the diners and auto garages of the city to the inside of Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, where wounded men and women have returned to the world in a time of war. A novel of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory and violent redemption, The Turnaround is another compelling, highly charged novel from George Pelecanos, "the best crime novelist in America." -Oregonian
The Night Gardener
The series of murders, all involving local teenage victims, was never solved. In the years since, Holiday has left the force under a cloud of morals charges, and now finds work as a bodyguard and driver. Cook has retired, but he has never stopped agonizing about the "Night Gardener" killings.The new case draws the three men together on a grim mission to finish the work that has haunted them for years. All the love, regret, and anger that once burned between them comes rushing back, and old ghosts walk once more as the men try to lay to rest the monster who has stalked their dreams.
Bigger and even more unstoppable than his previous thrillers, George Pelecanos achieves in The Night Gardener what his brilliant career has been building toward: a novel that is a perfect union of suspense, character, and unstoppable fate.
Rachel Lopez loves her work, too. By day she is a parole officer, helping people - Lorenzo Brown among them - along a path to responsibility and advancement. At night she heads for the city's hotel bars, where she can always find a man who will let her act out her damage. She loses herself in sex and drink and more. But Rachel's nights are taking a toll on her days. Lorenzo knows the signs. The trouble is, he truly needs her right now. There's an eruption coming in the streets he left behind, the kind of territorial war that takes down everyone even near it. Lorenzo needs every shred of support he can get to keep from being sucked back into that battleground. He reaches out to Rachel - but she may be too far gone to help either of them.
Writing with the grace and force that have earned him praise as "the poet laureate of the crime world," George Pelecanos has created a novel about two scarred and fallible people who must navigate one of life's most brutal passages. It is an unforgettable, moving, even shocking story that will leave no reader unchanged.
Private Investigator Derek Strange and his partner, Terry Quinn, are running a detective business in the seedy underbelly of Washington, DC when they are approached by a young man asking them to find his girlfriend who has gone missing. And so Strange and Quinn find her.
Just another day? Not quite. In the grimy underworld inhabited by Strange, nothing is that simple. For Strange and Quinn's efforts have led to a young mother being brutally murdered -- a devastating discovery that causes them both to question the morality by which they live. And yet at the same time they need to continue the search for another missing girl, a teenage runaway who shows up in a porn video. And who hasn't been seen since.
Step by step, Strange and his partner are drawn into the darkness, confronting gunrunners, crime lords, drug dealers, and ordinary people caught up in the ruthless violence of the business. Soul Circus is a heart-stopping thriller that could only have been written by George Pelecanos, the writer who "has gone from cult favorite to acknowledged master" (Booklist).
Hell to Pay
Combining inimitable neighborhood flavor, action scenes that rank among the best in fiction, and a clear-eyed view of morality in a world with few rules, Hell to Pay is another Pelecanos masterpiece for his ever-expanding audience to savor.
Right as Rain
Shame the Devil
The Sweet Forever
Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go
Then a dull popping sound and a quiet splash. In his third appearance in George Pelecanos's acclaimed series, Nick Stefanos has been spending too much time with bad women and bad booze. Which is why he wakes up one blurry morning on the banks of the Anacostia River, hungover and miserable -- and now a witness to a murder. With the help of a partner as straight-arrow as Nick is bent, Nick decides to track down the killer, an investigation that leads them through the roughest part of the nation's capital, and into the blackest parts of the human soul.
Nick Stefanos has given up his job in sales to tend bar at the Spot, where drinks and women are both a bit too easily available, and the routine is starting to feel as dead-end as his last gig.
But things are about to change. First, his high-school friend Billy Goodrich asks him to find his wife April, who he says left him for small-time crime boss Joey DiGeordano.
In fact, April has taken off with hog farmer/bondage freak Tommy Crane and, it turns out, with $200,000 of DiGeordano family money. There are powerful enemies on her trail -- and now on Nick's trail, too.
Discover the early work of the Emmy-nominated writer from The Wire and The Deuce, whose authentic sense of place, sharp musical references, and hardboiled style make him one of the most acclaimed in the mystery genre.