RARA-AVIS: Early Pelecanos

From: Bill Hagen ( billha@ionet.net)
Date: 10 Aug 2000

I've been reading through George Pelecanos' novels this summer, and just located his first two (thank you interlibrary loan). I'm really impressed with the high level of writing in his first, A Firing Offense (1992).

He is too slow in pacing for some readers, but that's because he doesn't just take his protagonist through different locations and encounters on the way to a climax. Nick enjoys drinking, sometimes snorting, and the game of selling a line to someone, and that translates into unexpected experiences along the way. Pelecanos is excellent on the frenetic world of discount
(appliance) selling or, for my money, the feel of certain restaurants and bars, either as places one works or places one lives. And, his shootouts are carefully staged, with equal parts of planning and spontaneous action determining the outcome.

Some have talked about a "Washington Quartet," but all the novels center on DC and a loose group of characters who connect to the Greeks--Old Nick, his son Nick, Costa and Dimitri. All of the novels can be lined up into a chronology involving these characters, starting with The Big Blowdown. The weaving of characters and places through the different novels offers unexpected riches, a world one enters.

Anyone know how the order would go after Blowdown? Expect A Firing Offense might be second, and Nick's Trip third. After that?

Bill Hagen
< billha@ionet.net>

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